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J R Soc Med. 2007 April; 100(4): 163.
PMCID: PMC1847743

Reed-Elsevier, academics and the arms trade

I share Richard Smith's outrage at publishing house Reed-Elsevier's participation in the arms trade (JRSM 2007;100:114-115). For this reason I joined some 140 other academics in writing an open letter to Reed which appeared in the Times Higher Education Supplement on 1 March 2007. In the letter we call on Reed to cease all involvement in arms fairs. In particular we state that Reed's involvement in the arms trade ‘is entirely at odds with the ethical and social obligations we have to promote the beneficial applications of our work and prevent its misuse, to anticipate and evaluate the possible unintended consequences of scientific and technological developments, and to consider at all times the moral responsibility we carry for our work.’

The letter is signed by some of the most respected minds in academia, united by their disgust at Reed's participation in the murderous business of selling arms. It forms part of an ongoing campaign; an online petition requesting that Reed stop organizing arms fairs has almost 1000 signatories:

In addition many academics have refused to submit papers to Reed journals until they get out of the arms trade:

The tide is turning against Reed and it is turning because academics are taking a stand. Join us!


Competing interests Dr Gill is a signatory to the ‘No to Reed-Elsevier!’ academic boycott.


1. Smith R. Reed-Elsevier's hypocrisy in selling arms and health. J Roy Soc Med 2007;100: 114-15 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press