29 Oct 2007

Conflicts of interest in the open access debate

I can accept that some society publishers are concerned that open access may make it harder for them to fund their activities. I can accept that some people are confused about the implications of open access.

What I find very difficult to accept is that executives at the American Chemical Society appear to be raising spurious arguments against open access, such as calling it 'Socialized Science', and that they have clear, undeclared conflicts of interest in this debate, namely that they are paid bonuses depending on the profits of the publishing division of the ACS.

Just as we now expect medics to declare their competing interests in journal publications, anyone involved in the open access debate should declare their own competing interests. My own financial competing interest is a fixed salary received from BioMed Central. Let's see some more transparency from all concerned.

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