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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

American Chemical Society fighting open access

If you are a member of the American Chemical Society, please read this memo from an anonymous insider. Your society is fighting open access, and not for any reasons of principle, but rather to protect the extremely generous bonuses of top executives. Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News - please see OA News for Peter's comments and links.

Anonymous ACS memo:

More on executive bonuses at the ACS

This memo from "ACS Insider" has been sent directly to many librarians and university administrators, and to at least one public listserv, NASW-Freelance from the National Association of Science Writers. I received a copy from one of the recipients. I don't know anything about the pseudonymous author.

I've been an ACS [American Chemical Society] employee for many, many years, but I've grown concerned with the direction of the organization. I'm sending this email to alert you that ACS has grown increasingly corporate in its structure and focus. Management is much more concerned with getting bonuses and growing their salaries rather than doing what is best for membership. For instance, Madeleine Jacobs now pulling in almost $1 million in salary and bonuses. That's almost 3X what Alan Leshner makes over at AAAS, and almost double what Drew Gilpin Faust makes to lead Harvard.

I think Madeleine is smart, but I'm not quite sure if she's in the same category as Dr. Faust. She doesn't even have a PhD!

What really concerns me is a move by ACS management to undermine the open-access movement. Rudy Baum has been leading the fight with several humorous editorials -- one in which he referred to open-access in the pages of C&EN as "socialized science." ACS has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in membership money to hire a company to lobby against open-access.

What troubles me the most is when ACS management decided to hire Dezenhall Resources to fight open-access. Nature got hold of some internal ACS emails written by Brian Crawford that discussed how Dezenhall could help us undermine open-access. Dezenhall later created a group called Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), which has this silly argument that open-access means "no more peer-review."

If you're wondering why ACS is fighting this, it's because people like Rudy Baum, Brian Crawford and other ACS managers receive bonuses based on how much money the publishing division generates. Hurt the publishing revenue; you hurt their bonuses.

I'm hoping that sending out this email will get people to force ACS executives to become more transparent in how they act and spend membership money. Not to mention their crazy need for fatter salaries.

It's time for some change. If you want to check out the sources for this information, there is a wiki site that has all the articles and documents outlining what I've just written. You can find it here.

Those of inside ACS know that it's time for things to change. But management won't alter their behavior. The money is just too good.

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