November 2, 2007

ACS accused of conflict of interest in lobbying against Open Access

Professor Paul Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota - Morris, has an interesting blog entry where he summarizes a recent "flap" at the American Chemical Society. Two individuals, one anonymous and one named, assert that ACS executives earn bonuses based on the profits from society publications and draw a connection between those bonuses and the fact that ACS lobbies against proposed legislation mandating Open Access to federally funded research. As Professor Myers puts it so eloquently, "Have fun plumbing the practical sociology of science!"

ACS felt compelled to respond to these assertions in the October 24, 2007 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (Chemical Society Rebuts Anonymous Accusations of Self-Interest in Opposing Open Access). Peter Suber of Open Access News has this take on the rebuttal:

The ACS responds to the first memo from "ACS Insider" but not the second memo. By the way, while the "ACS Insider" allegation is anonymous, the same allegation was made earlier, for attribution, by Paul Thacker in an article in the Summer 2007 issue of SEJournal from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The Chronicle article contains one new disclosure from Madeleine Jacobs, executive director of the ACS:

Ms. Jacobs did confirm that senior executives and some managers in the publishing division have a "small portion" of their overall incentive compensation "based on meeting certain financial targets." She did not agree that such incentive pay, however small, represented a conflict of interest in the group's opposition to open-access legislation, and called that argument "spurious."

Posted by stemp003 at November 2, 2007 4:31 PM
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