Some time ago, I had a paper on normal fault evolution in the Gulf of Suez accepted for publication in the Journal of Structural Geology. This is an Elsevier journal, and the paper duly went off to the Elsevier production people to be published. Now, one of the figures in the paper is a large and spectacularly detailed geological map of the study area, done in the late 1990s by my co-author and former University of Manchester post-doc Ian Sharp. This is an excellent piece of work in itself, and it had never been published; we decided that this paper would be a good place to finally publish it. The level of detail on this map is such that we wanted to reproduce it in colour, at A3 size. We knew that this would cost money, but the industrial sponsors of the work were happy to cover the costs.
After a long and generally fruitless attempt at corresponding with the Elsevier production department (which has been outsourced to India, incidentally), I finally received a PDF proof of the paper in which the geological map was reproduced at A3 size. All well and good. Until the final version of the paper was published [paywall: for God's sake, don't pay $31.50 for this...if you really want a copy, e-mail me and I'll send you a PDF], and the map was back to A4 size, with much of the fine detail lost as a result.
Now, surely it isn't on for Elsevier to unilaterally make changes to an article without consulting the authors about it. I know some people who have been involved in editing this journal, and it seems they are unhappy with how it is being run by Elsevier. As Dr Aust points out, companies like Elsevier charge large amounts of money for papers, in just about the only example of publishing in which the authors don't want to be paid for producing all the content. Elsevier makes massive profits out of journal publishing, gets to hide all of the content behind ridiculous paywalls, and doesn't even make a particularly good job of the journal production. There must be a better way.