Elsevier Awarded U.S. Patent For “Online Peer Review System and Method”

Gary Price, Library Journal, InfoDocket, Sept 01, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think that the operators of Open Journal Systems may want to say something about the recently awarded Elsevier patent. They have only been operating this sort of technology for the last fifteen years. Tom Reller from Elsevier writes, via Twitter, "There is no need for concern regarding the patent. It’s simply meant to protect our own proprietary waterfall system from being copied." He does not comment on whether Elsevier copied their system from someone else, and whether the patent is intended to legitimize that act. EFF has awarded it the Stupid Patent of the Month award.

As EFF notes, Elsevier has a poor track record. "The company has tried to stop researchers from sharing their own papers in institutional repositories, and entered an endless legal battle with rogue repositories Sci-Hub and and LibGen. ... Elsevier recently acquired SSRN, the beloved preprints repository for the social sciences and humanities. There are early signs that it will be a poor steward of SSRN." See also this article from the Chronicle.

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