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Scientific publishing

October 16, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 42

While I understand the opposition to open-access publishing voiced by the Association of American Publishers, I am a little confused by the American Chemical Society's position (C&EN June 5, page 3). ACS currently provides authors with URLs that allow them access to "reprints" of their articles. Since these URLs are then automatically converted to "open access" URLs one year after publication, isn't ACS already complying with the spirit of S.2695? One possible extension of this policy would be to allow authors to post this URL on the funding agency's website.

Dana L. Roth
Pasadena, Calif.

As an author of more than 100 journal articles, a reader of almost 40 years of journal subscriptions, and an avid user of many hard-copy and online journals, I have followed with interest the evolution of electronic publishing. My conclusion agrees with that of the business world, namely that online is the future and that most content will be free to the viewer. Professional societies and the commercial publishers are trying to figure out how to respond.

Quality refereeing will remain the endorsement that marks scientific research publications that are worth reading. However, that issue is not necessarily associated with costs that must be paid by the reader or with the origin of the funding that supported the research being reported. The majority of my research has been federally funded, was reported in journals published by professional societies, and page charges were paid from the corresponding federal grants and contracts. This sounds like a good argument that such information should be publicly available at very low cost.

The U.S. and European astronomy societies have chosen to provide free online access to journal articles more than a few years old through the NASA-supported Astrophysical Data System ( Note that ADS includes much more than astronomy and is a primary resource for Google Scholar. The American Geophysical Union provides free online access to members for all articles published a year or more ago. The American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society offer economical online access to members and subscribers.

The vitality of the chemistry research community depends on ACS leading the evolution of the future rather than dragging its feet all the way.

David L. Huestis
Menlo Park, Calif.


Ballots for the American Chemical Society's fall 2006 national election were mailed to members on Sept. 25. If your ballot (mailed in a white envelope with a red banner marked "Urgent Official Election Ballot Enclosed") hasn't arrived yet, you may request that a duplicate ballot be sent to you by calling VR Election Services, Customer Service at (800) 218-4026, Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5 PM central time, no later than Oct. 27. You can cast your vote electronically or by traditional mail-in ballot. The voting deadline is close of business (5 PM CT), on Nov. 3. Election information on all candidates can be found at



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