I believe that the DSEi arms fairs are immoral, geopolitically reckless, sometimes illegal (e.g.) and improperly regulated (e.g.). Beyond this, I resent that a publisher which profits from the hard (and publicly funded) work of academics uses those profits to support the sale to undemocratic & repressive governments of such things as depleted uranium shells, cluster bombs, missile technology and small arms. The arms fairs Spearhead organises (yes, DSEi isn't the only one) are a measly amount of Elsevier's business, but it is a part that makes academics complicit in the deaths of civilians, in torture and in political repression around the world.Reed Elsevier's response to his letters basically claimed that arms trade is "legitimate business" and that "it is your democratic right" to disagree with RE's involvement in arms trading (though it won't affect their business).
When teaching Research Methods, I talk a lot about research ethics in terms of using sources properly--accurating citing sources, not taking the source's ideas or arguments out of context, using sources that are reliable, ... But this is sure a new twist on research ethics: what do we do when our school's library subscribes to journals and databases whose publishers are involved in business that many of us would consider immoral? And what should we teach our students about this?
(via Crooked Timber)