arrow14 Comments
  1. Carmen Drahl
    Sep 28 - 2:33 PM

    You are too kind to refer to ME as a mentor to YOU, David. Reading your work makes me think it’s the other way ’round. Listening is one of the most important things I do as a reporter and a blogger. I can’t keep up with everything, but I do my best and hope it serves.

  2. Jennifer Howard
    Sep 28 - 2:39 PM

    Interesting post on the situation. I feel compelled to point out that in my CHE story I paraphrased that last sentence from Mr. Ruskin’s statement and put it right before the quote that’s been so much talked about. So the context was there for readers from the beginning. Here’s the full paragraph from my story:

    “A spokesman for the American Chemical Society said that the group would not offer a response to Ms. Rogers’s blog post or the conversation that’s sprung up around it. ‘We find little constructive dialogue can be had on blogs and other listservs where logic, balance, and common courtesy are not practiced and observed,’ Glenn S. Ruskin, the group’s director of public affairs, said in an e-mail message. ‘As a matter of practice, ACS finds that direct engagement via telephone or face-to-face with individuals expressing concern over pricing or other related matters is the most productive means to finding common ground and resolution.’”

    • David Kroll
      Sep 28 - 5:59 PM

      Jennifer – thanks so much for coming by to clarify. I now see exactly the difference between the paraphrase relative to Ruskin’s verbatim comment. I really appreciate the input. You wrote a superb article on an issue that really needs to be discussed seriously and substantively, and not just with ACS. (btw, I absolutely love the design and content of your professional website!).

  3. Christina Pikas
    Sep 28 - 3:02 PM

    With respect, this really isn’t the way it went down: “Rogers has been less-than-professional in some of her communications with ACS”
    In fact, she has been very professional in her communications WITH ACS. After they treated her poorly she joined her colleagues on a social network (FriendFeed) and blew off steam. In any case, that is completely irrelevant.

    • Bill Hooker
      Sep 28 - 4:24 PM

      I disagree with Christina ONLY in that I think it is very relevant, because the concern-trolling about “tone” is a common tactic among bullies (particularly when the target is female). That the ACS went directly there, even though the reality is as Christina describes it, speaks volumes.

    • David Kroll
      Sep 28 - 6:10 PM

      Gotcha, Christina – thanks so much for the clarification. I figured that you had been following this issue closely. I believe that we’ve discussed before the issues that you face professionally with ACS pricing.

      Bill makes a very astute analysis on how this representation is relevant. Mr. Ruskin is losing even more points.

  4. Matt
    Sep 28 - 3:15 PM

    Well said, David. Many sides to this. Many of us take for granted the “free” posts that we read from you and Carmen and Jyllian and Lisa and Sarah and others here at CENtral. Also, as to the issue of journal access … It is frustrating to me (as a scientist and an ACS member) that my institution has to pay BIG money for both SciFinder and journal access. I’ll make the following analogy: I’d be really upset if I went for a drive and both the road and the gasoline were owned by the same corporation. In many instances, I’m paying double for doing my searches. As for the unsustainable model of research publication, let me state what I think is fair. ACS should be able to charge for journal subscriptions to the past five years (completely arbitrary number) of a journal content. But, if I’m paying a lot of money for sci-finder, I should get free access to ACS journal articles that are older … that their search software tells me I need to look at. I really think that more open access to older articles is a very reasonable step to take. We’ll see what happens …

  5. Jenica Rogers
    Sep 28 - 3:24 PM

    With thanks to Christina for saying it on my behalf, I’ll say it myself. I have never been less than professional in my dealings with the ACS or their staff, or in my professional communications about and with the ACS. I have been less than professional in non-professional spaces, by my own admission. But the fact that they choose to conflate those two communication spaces is both disgustingly disingenuous and completely irrelevant to the discussion.

    It’s a classic move by a powerful organization in derailing the conversation away from the issues at hand (pricing models) to the thing they’d rather you all focus on (how I’m not professional enough in non professional spaces). Which discussion is worth everyone’s time and attention?

    • David Kroll
      Sep 28 - 6:13 PM

      Jenica – thank you so much for coming by to comment. I’m glad to see you taking such a strong stand and following up around the blogosphere to correct the record and refocus the discussion where it needs to be. (For the record, I’ve stricken my comment in the body of the post).

      Now that we’re here and so much more attention is being placed on the pricing models, what sort of outcomes would you hope to achieve?

      • Jenica Rogers
        Oct 04 - 12:35 PM

        David, I would hope for two things:

        1. That the ACS begins to build a new pricing model, one which doesn’t privilege the large institutions over the small ones, one which does not begin with an unsustainable base price, and which does not price small institutions (and thus our researchers) out of the market entirely. Put more simply, I hope that they begin to prioritize access over profit, and to do so with some fairness.

        2. That librarians, chemistry faculty, and researchers wake up to what’s happening here, and begin having local discussions about what’s sustainable in the local fiscal climate, what’s appropriate given the local mission and needs, and building a local strategy for how to respond to this kind of challenge.

        And then I wish on both fronts that people would talk, openly and transparently, about their choices. Public accountable comment from the ACS, and from libraries.

        I can dream, right?

  6. Paul
    Sep 29 - 2:37 PM

    Excellent post, David.

    I hope that all of the stakeholders here–ACS Publications, C&EN, bloggers, librarians, and students—will eventually be able to get past the sniping (in which we’ve all engaged) and have a good, deep, thoughtful discussion of the issues associated with the ACS’s pricing models. Matt provided an analogy regarding driving, and I was thinking about a different analogy with respect to the old philosophical question: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, did it make a sound?”

    If I publish a paper in an ACS journal, but a student ten years down the road who needs access to it can’t get access, why did I even bother doing the work and publishing it in the first place? The perverse idea that libraries and departments are encouraging their students to NOT read the literature is upsetting, as it starts rendering research worthless. I might as well just post results on my blog.

    • Mr. Gunn
      Sep 29 - 5:00 PM

      “I might as well just post results on my blog.”

      That would be the best way to change the attitude of both people like Ruskin and the anonymous professors in the Promotion and Tenure committees that you mention above.

      Sometimes I wish that we’d stop complaining about the conditions to our jailers and just open the gate. We designed our own prison, we can let ourselves out. At the very least, we should stop entrapping the younger generation in the same situation.

      Also, David, does it not seem a little funny that the grand-central roundup link which mentioned #ACSHatesBlogs and your post couldn’t even get the link right?

      • David Kroll
        Oct 05 - 6:25 AM

        Sorry I missed this last part of your comment, William. I believe that the Grand CENtral link is correct.

  7. [...] Terra Sigillata: Behind the Wood Shed with the ACS [...]

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