I suspect that a large proportion of the chemical blogosphere has either received the spam message from ACS_insider@yahoo.com some time this month or if they haven’t they will have seen it on one of the blogs. It’s on Chemical Forums, Peter Suber’s OA blog and from there it went to PeterMR’s blog, and the CHMINF-L discussion group, and several other blogs summarized in this Pg cluster.
The gist of the message is that a purported long-time ACS employee is frustrated by the size of the salary their boss receives and that this somehow relates to how the organisation operates and the profits it makes. Where’s the news in that? Bosses earn more than their subordinates! Shock! Salaries tied to success! Horror!
There is no way to validate the source of the original email from the headers alone, a free Yahoo account was used to send it and the YahooID is not in the membership directory of that site, so it may or may not be from a disgruntled ACS employee, we may never know, unless the person owns up.
My flippancy aside, the email does raise an important point, which Peter Suber and others wish to address and he suggests that the community should raise the following issue in open discussion: “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.”
I asked the ACS communications office to comment on the original email, and they got back to me with a statement. In it, the ACS categorically states: “The anonymous author makes erroneous and misleading claims about the compensation of these employees and alleges that the compensation is somehow related to the Society’s position on open access.”
It goes on to say that: “The ACS’s position on Open Access has been developed carefully over many years, in consultation with scientists and publishing experts from a wide range of scientific disciplines and interests. It is measured and seeks to balance the legitimate needs of all stakeholders in scientific publishing. That position has been fully reviewed and approved by the appropriate levels of ACS Governance, including Board Committees and the Board of Directors, and is not a ‘staff decision’ alone.”
So, on the one hand, we have a spurious claim from an anonymous emailer claiming to be an ACS employee, which has been taken up by the chemistry blogosphere and beyond and a statement from ACS denying all the claims in said email and consolidating their stance on Open Access.
Do ChemSpy readers have any thoughts on all of this?