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Sunday, May 28, 2006

ACS Letter to NIH on PubChem

A letter from the American Chemical Society (ACS) to the National Institute of Health on Pubchem has been obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and posted on the SPARC Open Access Forum. The ACS apparently expects the NIH to avoid making chemistry information available, or creating links and relationships between different kinds of materials, to avoid competition with "private databases".

PubChem's aim is to disseminate information in the public interest. Building the relationships between different elements facilitates the process of chemistry research.

Why is ACS, a nonprofit organization, fighting the public interest in the interests of private, commercial-like profits, and why is it doing so clandestinely? CWB members - please ask ACS, or friends who are ACS members, about this.

I have sent a letter to the current President of ACS, E. Ann Nally, called Open Access: Transformative Change, explaining very pleasantly the potential of new web-based technologies to rapidly advance research in chemistry - and why this is important. For example, by openly sharing information and working collaboratively, the world's researchers and research funders succeeeded in mapping the human genome in record speed. We could be taking the same basic approach and applying it to finding sustainable, environmentally-friendly energy sources, solutions for malaria, AIDs, bird flu, and so forth.

So far, I have not received a reply.

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