Two members of an American Chemical Society (ACS) committee have resigned to protest what they say is the society’s tight-lipped handling of its battle against a free federal chemical database.
The flap involves the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) PubChem, which ACS leaders see as a threat to the fee-based Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) (Science, 2 September, p. 1473). Details on the Chemistry Information Sources Discussion List
Here is a brief explanation of the fight to support PubChem, from the SPARC E-News April-May 2005:
SPARC last week issued an action alert encouraging members to support the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in its effort to develop the PubChem online database. PubChem is under assault by the American Chemical Society (ACS), who is calling on Congress to restrict the freely accessible database. PubChem connects chemical information with facts in numerous public databases and is a critical component of NIH’s Molecular Libraries Initiative, which in turn is a key element of the NIH strategic “roadmap” to speed new medical treatments and improve healthcare.
ACS claims that PubChem competes with its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). In reality, PubChem and the Chemical Abstracts Service databases are complementary, not duplicative. If ACS succeeds in eliminating PubMed, it will hamper scientific progress. The University of California Office of Scholarly Communication lays out the facts of this issue in The American Chemical Society and NIH’s PubChem. This page collects the position statements, the major documents, and a list of actions that researchers can take to support PubChem.
Thanks to Brian Lynch for raising this issue.