In 3 pages of letters in today’s Lancet the medical community slammed Elsevier for its involvement in the arms and torture industry. Letters from the Royal College of Physicians, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Doctors for Human Rights, People’s Health Movement, Medsin, Doctors for Iraq said that there is a basic contradiction betwen Reed Elsevier’s commercial interest in death and torture and the values of the Lancet, and medical publishing in general.

The Guardian: Doctors attack Lancet owner’s arms fair links

Across three pages of today’s edition the medical journal publishes letters from top doctors, led by the Royal College of Physicians, who say that Reed Elsevier’s commercial interest in the arms trade undermines the journal’s efforts to improve health worldwide.

The editors of the journal also call on their proprietor to drop its work with the defence industry, claiming that the association is damaging The Lancet’s reputation. The Lancet’s international advisory board is now considering an “organised campaign” against its own publisher.

via ScienceDirect, Lancet table of contents

From the reply by the Lancet editors:

On the question of arms exhibitions, we have found that a growing number of our Elsevier colleagues, who have long standing relationships with scientifi c societies and authors, are questioning Reed Elsevier’s decision to continue in this business. At a time of fi erce debate over author-pays open access journals and open archiving, Reed Elsevier, many of them say, needs to be making strong alliances, not creating new enemies.

Update: PDF of letters and editors response here