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Metal-Organic Frameworks


December 17, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 45


Letters to the editor

Are journal authors customers?

ACS 2020 IRS Form 990 available

The American Chemical Society’s 2020 IRS Form 990 is now available on the ACS website. To access the information, go to Please scroll toward the bottom of the page to access the 2020 form and related Guide to Schedule J for explanatory information regarding ACS executive compensation. If you have any access problems, please contact

I recently made a routine inquiry about a manuscript I had submitted to an American Chemical Society journal. I soon received back an email from Customer Services and Information, which is apparently part of ACS Publications support, assigning my inquiry a case number. At exactly the same time, I received an email asking me to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. What I find alarming is that I am now referred to as a “customer.” When did authors of scientific papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals become “customers”? Does ACS now think of authors as “customers” to whom they can sell their “products”?

Not to be too curmudgeonly, but the same trend is apparent in academia. At the end of each semester, the students are asked to fill out a survey about the teaching ability of the instructor whose course they have just finished. At least at my university, we do not yet call the students “customers,” but I can see the day coming.

It seems to me that scientific publishing and university teaching are not fields that can be evaluated by surveying the “customers.”

Ronald A. Hites
Bloomington, Indiana


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