ACS insider?

October 12, 2007 at 8:36 am | | news, open thread, science community

Did everyone get this email?

Subject: Time to Reform the American Chemical Society
From: Madeleine Jacobs <>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 17:24:22 -0700 (PDT)
To: [redacted]


I’ve been an ACS 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 is 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 us inside ACS know that it’s time for things to change. But management won’t alter their behavior. The money is just too good.

ACS Insider

Strange. Did this “ACS insider” send the email to all ACS members?

What do people think about this? I’m not surprised that ACS is working to fight the open-access movement, because it threatens their business (or their business model). Whether it’s appropriate for ACS to spend member fees to fight that fight is a different matter, I suppose.

I do agree that exorbitant pay rates for the top executives is a problem, and an indicator of larger issues within the organization.

All in all, it’s hard for me to care that much: My student membership fees are relatively small and I don’t have to pay for journals (although I know they are expensive for the library). And the ACS conference is well run.

What do other people think?


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  1. So yesterday’s news.


    Comment by Mitch — October 12, 2007 #

  2. […] has been covered here and here. I’ve been an ACS employee for many, many years, but I’ve grown concerned with the […]

    Pingback by The Chem Blog » The tinfoil hats come off — October 13, 2007 #

  3. oh.

    Comment by sam — June 27, 2008 #

  4. […] 1: Sam’s take– ACS Insider? Edit 2: Kyle’s take– The tinfoil hats come […]

    Pingback by Chemistry Blog » Blog Archive » ACS, Open Access, and Chemmunity — December 21, 2008 #

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