This is an attempt to describe some of the background to the current boycott of Elsevier by many mathematicians (and other academics) at The Cost of Knowledge, and to present some of the issues that confront the boycott movement. Although the movement is anything but monolithic, we believe that the points we make here will resonate with many of the signatories to the boycott. Elsevier, Springer, and a number of other commercial publishers (many of them large companies but less signicant for their mathematics publishing, e.g., Wiley) all exploit our volunteer labor to extract very large prots from the academic community. They supply some value in the process, but nothing like enough to justify their prices.
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