Madeleine Jacobs

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Madeleine Jacobs is Executive Director of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a professional society that has been widely criticized for the excessive pay of its executives and attempts to undermine open access for scholarly publications.

Criticism for Executive Compensation

In 2004, the ACS came under scrutiny for salaries that greatly exceed those of executives at other scientific societies and research universities.[1] The news section of Science revealed that ACS's executive director earned over $721,000 in 2002.[2] In response to the controversy, Executive Director, Madeleine Jacobs, pledged to lower executive compensation. A protest site called has regularly posted the salaries of ACS executives which are listed in society's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form 990 annual returns. In 2005, ACS reported to the IRS that Madeleine Jacobs was paid $919,251. [3]

The University of California reports that ACS does not provide financial transparency for its executive compensation.[4]

Activities Against Open Access

In June 2005, Nobel Laureate Richard J. Roberts publicly announced that he was withdrawing his membership in ACS because the Society "vehemently opposed the Open Access initiative."[5] Dr. Roberts wrote, "Frankly, the recent actions of the ACS are a disgrace to its image in the USA and around the world."

Jacobs wrote in response, "I am glad you're giving me the chance to set the record straight and correct the misinformation on the subjects that you bring up....Our free enterprise society in the U.S. operates on the premise that the government will not unduly compete with its citizens."[6]

That same month, National Public Radio reported that the ACS was lobbying Congress to rein in open access. Jacobs told the reporter that open access would hurt the Society's finances.[7]

In October 2007, The Scientist reported on an anonymous email claiming that executive bonuses at ACS were linked to publishing profits. "Several former ACS employees contacted by The Scientist, who wished to remain anonymous, said that while they were employees at the ACS, it was well known that upper level managers got bonuses that were linked to publishing profits. Sylvia Ware, former director of the ACS education division, declined to comment about bonus practice at the society."[8]

Days later, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Madeleine Jacobs "did confirm that senior executives and some managers in the publishing division have a 'small portion' of their overall incentive compensation 'based on meeting certain financial targets.' She did not agree that such incentive pay, however small, represented a conflict of interest in the group's opposition to open-access legislation and called such argument 'spurious.'"[9]

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  1. "Chemical Society Draws Fire for Leader's High Pay" Chronicle of Higher Education, September 3, 2004.
  2. "Judicious spender", Science, Vol. 305. no. 5689, September 3, 2004, p. 1399.
  3. "ACS/CAS Salaries for 1992-2005", I Dont, accessed October 2007.
  4. University of California, Office of Scholarly Communication "The Role of Scholarly Societies", accessed December 2007.
  5. Richard J. Roberts [1] Letter addressed to Dr. Namaroff of the ACS, June 1, 2005.
  6. Madeleine Jacobs "Letter to Dr. Roberts" June 1, 2005.
  7. David Kestenbaum, "Chemical Society: NIH Database Hurts Business", All Things Considered, June 12, 2005.
  8. Andrea Gawrylewski Unrest in the ACS The Scientist, October 22, 2007.
  9. J.J. Hermes, "Chemical Society Rebuts Anonymous Accusations of Self-Interest in Opposing Open Access", The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2007.

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