Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, October 05, 2007

This explains a lot

Paul D. Thacker, Investigative reporting can produce a “higher obligation”, SEJournal, Summer 2007.  Excerpt:

...[P]ublishing executives and senior editors at ACS get bonuses based on how well the publishing operation performs. These bonuses are approved through the committee on executive compensation....


  • We've long known that the American Chemical Society (ACS) pays very high salaries to its executives, at least for a non-profit scientific society.  For example, according to its 2005 tax returns, it paid Madeleine Jacobs $919,251 and Bob Massie $1,033,330.  At the time, Jacobs was the the society's CEO and Massie was president of its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS).
  • We've also long known that the ACS strongly opposed government OA policies, from PubChem to the NIH policy and FRPAA.  According to Nature, the ACS was one of only three publishers (with Wiley and Elsevier) to hear the Dezenhall proposal that recently evolved into PRISM
  • Thacker's full article is of interest for another reason:  he explains why he was fired from his job as a reporter for one of the ACS journals --after a phone call to his editor from an industry executive who happens to chair the ACS committee on executive compensation. 
  • The article includes a sidebar in which two ACS officers dispute parts of Thacker's account.  Excerpt:  "Bill Carroll, former ACS president, wrote to say...that he chaired the compensation committee but it does not evaluate or award bonuses to editorial employees."
  • If your professional society has opposed government OA policies, try to find out whether its executives get bonuses based on the revenues or profits of its publications.  If they do, ask in a public meeting whether they believe this is a conflict of interest.