"On January 21st Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at Cambridge University, wrote a blog post outlining the reasons for his longstanding boycott of research journals published by Elsevier. This firm, which is based in the Netherlands, owns more than 2,000 journals, including such top-ranking titles as Cell and the Lancet. However Dr Gowers, who won the Fields medal, mathematics's equivalent of a Nobel prize, in 1998, is not happy with it, and he hoped his post might embolden others to do something similar.
It did. More than 2,700 researchers from around the world have so far signed an online pledge set up by Tyler Neylon, a fellow-mathematician who was inspired by Dr Gowers's post, promising not to submit their work to Elsevier's journals, or to referee or edit papers appearing in them. That number seems, to borrow a mathematical term, to be growing exponentially. If it really takes off, established academic publishers might find they have a revolution on their hands. ...
Dr Neylon's petition, though, is symptomatic of a wider conflict between academics and their publishers—a conflict that is being thrown into sharp relief by the rise of online publishing. Academics, who live in a culture which values the free and easy movement of information (and who edit and referee papers for nothing) have long been uncomfortable bedfellows with commercial publishing companies, which want to maximise profits by charging for access to that information, and who control many (although not all) of the most prestigious scientific journals."
(Feb 4th 2012, The Economist)
"The Russell Group represents the 20 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector."
[In the UK the Russell Group represent the traditional and 'red brick' universities and the 'Million+ group' represents the new or 'Plate Glass' universities.There is a similar equivalence in Australia between the more traditional 'sandstone universities' and the 'new' or 'Post-1992 universities'.]
"Today, when we speak of being 'scholarly,' it usually means having academic rank in a college or university and being engaged in research and publication. But we should remind ourselves just how recently the word 'research' actually entered the vocabulary of higher education. The term was first used in England in the 1870s by reformers who wished to make Cambridge and Oxford 'not only a place of teaching, but a place of learning,' and it was later introduced to American higher education in 1906 by Daniel Coit Gilman.  But scholarship in earlier times referred to a variety of creative work carried on in a variety of places, and its integrity was measured by the ability to think, communicate, and learn. What we now have is a more restricted view of scholarship, one that limits it to a hierarchy of functions. Basic research has come to be viewed as the first and most essential form of scholarly activity, with other functions flowing from it. Scholars are academics who conduct research, publish, and then perhaps convey their knowledge to students or apply what they have learned. The latter functions grow out of scholarship, they are not to be considered a part of it. But knowledge is not necessarily developed in such a linear manner. The arrow of causality can, and frequently does, point in both directions. Theory surely leads to practice. But practice also leads to theory. And teaching, at its best, shapes both research and practice. Viewed from this perspective, a more comprehensive, more dynamic understanding of scholarship can be considered, one in which the rigid categories of teaching, research, and service are broadened and more flexibly defined."
(Ernest L. Boyer p.15-16)
 Charles Wegener, Liberal Education and the Modern University (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978), 9-12; citing Daniel C. Gilman, The Launching of a University and Other Papers (New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1906), 238-39 and 242-43.
[Interestingly according to Boyer (1990 p.8) the first Doctorate of Philosophy in America was only conferred at Yale in 1861. It appears that there is a hierarchy of legitimacy that operates in higher education that attempts to place 'sandstone' universities above the ex-polytechnics and technical colleges in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia (including ATN), Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom (the new universities ), and 'land-grant' colleges in America. This is particularly strange given the brief hold that the sandstone universities have had on higher research activity.]