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June 30, 2005

Chemical Information Monster, American Chemical Society (ACS), Failed to Stop NIH Public Chemistry Database Needed by All

"Bobby Pickering, US Congress fails to back ACS, Information World Review, June 16, 2005. Excerpt: 'The American Chemical Society has put a brave face on a snub it has received from the US Congress, which has refused to take its side in a dispute with the National Institutes of Health (NIH)... The ACS had hoped to put pressure on the NIH through Congressional supporters, but last week the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee approved the annual NIH budget with only the slightest admonishment that both parties work together. The committee said it "urges NIH to work with private sector providers to avoid unnecessary duplication and competition with private sector chemical databases." The ACS declined the opportunity to speak to IWR this week, but issued a statement that it is "very pleased that the House Appropriations Subcommittee expressed concern about PubChem replicating private scientific information services. We will continue to work diligently with NIH toward a collaborative model and solution." Yet it is now difficult to see how it can develop a dialogue with the NIH and work towards a compromise solution, having already adopted such heavy-handed tactics. The ACS is noted for taking a bullish stance over the threat to its revenues from open access publishing. In December 2004, it filed a complaint in the US District Court of DC against Google for alleged trademark infringement of the CAS SciFinder Scholar brand and for "unfair competition". The US organisation is also under fire from some parts of the academic community for the levels of remuneration it awards employees. The not-for-profit organisation paid out 46% of its total expenses of $404m in salaries and fringe benefits last year, with its executive director receiving a total compensation package of over $1m.'"

Source: Suber P. More on the failure of ACS lobbying in Congress. OAN Blog (16 June 2005) [FullText]

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