A footnote to my comments on multinational publisher Reed Elsevier's involvement in organising arms trade exhibitions: on Saturday I received a copy of their annual report. Apart from the ugly and sometimes meaningless language in which it is written (example: "leverage our leadership brands and authoritative proprietary content to deliver innovative solutions orientated products that become embedded in customers’ workflows and enable Reed Elsevier to move up the value chain"), there is a section on corporate responsibility, which they define as a "commitment to operate profitably, ethically and openly". They mention a Socially Responsible Supplier network, which "tracks the social and environmental performance of key suppliers", but do not say whether involvement in the arms trade is one of the criteria by which suppliers are assessed.
In the open access debate apologists for publishers often argue that they have an important part to play in scientific communication. But this document does not even try to mount a defence of that position. They say starkly, "our objectives are to deliver good revenue growth,
continuous margin improvement, strong cash generation and growing returns on capital".
To declare an interest, my late mother's estate owns Reed Elsevier shares. I have not yet decided whether to dispose of them.