Thursday, September 27, 2012

American Chemical Society not winning any blogging friends these days

Wow - just got an email from a colleague with details on a scientific publishing saga.  Here is the summary:

Stage 1: Jenica Rogers wrote a blog post expressing a bit of frustration with the American Chemical Society and their publishing system: Walking away from the American Chemical Society

Stage 2: The Chronicle for Higher Education wrote a story about it: As Chemistry Journals' Prices Rise, A Librarian Just Says No

Stage 3: The Director of Public Affairs for the ACS responded to questions and was quoted with the following
“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."
Then he attempted to clarify some details of the quote in that he claimed that the following got left off the end of the quote "Therefore, we will not be offering any response  to this blog posting or the conversation that has ensued." but when doing this he got a bit personal and nasty:
The individual responsible for the above cited blog certainly has the right to her opinion, but that does not excuse rude behavior or her use of profanity and vulgarity in addressing ACS or its employees. While not evident in the most recent postings, I won’t repeat what she has posted in the past.  But I think you would agree that vulgarity and profanity postings do not lend themselves to meaningful, productive and civil discourse, thus our decision not to engage any further with her on this topic
And the discussion continued on various blogs like Chembark.  The most disturbing part to me of the whole thing is that it is hard to find anything particularly extremely vulgar in writings by Jenica Rogers (I note - I only googled around for a minute or so so I may have missed things but Walk Walt at Random has more detail on this and also did not find any serious vulgarity).  Generally I find the response of ACS to be extremely distasteful.  They don't like what she wrote.  So they go after her character.  Brilliant.

For other takes on this story see


  1. Great post. One tiny correction: It's Walt at Random, not Walk at Random--although the latter name would make a great name for a blog about stock picking and forecasting.


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