[Marxism] Re: the academic-industrial complex
schaffer at optonline.net
Thu May 5 15:34:52 MDT 2005
yesterday i posted a note from Nature magazine from Aug of 2004:
> Washington - The size of the pay package awarded to a former executive
> director of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which was nearly
> $768,000 in 2002, has led to protests from members.
today in Science i read:
Science, Vol 308, Issue 5723, 774 , 6 May 2005
Chemists Want NIH to Curtail Database
The American Chemical Society (ACS) wants the U.S. government to shut
down a free database that it says duplicates the society's fee-based
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). Government officials defend the site,
called PubChem, saying the two serve different purposes and will
complement, rather than compete with, each other. But ACS officials are
hoping to convince Congress to stop PubChem unless the government scales
PubChem was launched last fall by the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, as a free storehouse of data on small
organic molecules. It is a component of the Molecular Libraries
Initiative, which is a part of NIH Director Elias Zerhouni's road map
for translating biomedical research. So far, PubChem includes
information on 650,000 compounds, such as structures and biological
assays, as well as links to PubMed, NIH's free biomedical abstracts
database. It will grow to include data from the Molecular Libraries
centers, which aim to screen thousands of molecules for biological
activity. NIH expects basic researchers to use PubChem to identify
chemicals they can use to explore how genes and cells work.
But ACS claims PubChem goes far beyond a chemical probes database. It
is, ACS says, a smaller version of CAS, which employs more than 1200
people in Columbus, Ohio, and makes a significant contribution to the
society's $317 million in annual revenue from publications.
Institutional subscribers receive data on 25 million chemicals,
including summaries written by CAS experts and links to chemistry
journal abstracts. Like CAS, PubChem assigns each chemical a unique
identifying number, and until a few weeks ago, the sites even looked
quite similar, says ACS Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs.
Claiming that PubChem could wipe out CAS, Jacobs argues that NIH should
abide by its stated mission of storing only data from the Molecular
Libraries Initiative and other NIH-funded research.
NIH officials counter that PubChem indexes a set of biomedical journals
that overlaps only slightly with those CAS indexes and, unlike CAS, does
not provide curated information on patents or reactions. "They have a
vast amount of information that PubChem would never dream of including,"
says Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research
Institute. PubChem's focus on biological information such as protein
structures and toxicology is complementary, he says. NIH has offered to
link entries in PubChem to CAS, but ACS says that wouldn't help.
ACS has enlisted Ohio's governor, Republican Bob Taft, as well as the
state's congressional delegation to push its case. The legislators sent
a letter on 8 March to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael
Leavitt arguing that PubChem could pose "direct and unfair competition"
with CAS. The lawmakers compare it to PubScience, a Department of Energy
abstracts database that was shut down in 2002 after House appropriators
decided it violated rules prohibiting the government from duplicating
private services. ACS was part of that lobbying campaign.
NIH officials are worried that PubChem could suffer the same fate and
hope to make their case this month to Senator Mike Dewine (R-OH).
Jacobs, for her part, wants NIH to "stick to its mission" and cut back
the scope of PubChem. If not, she promises "to bring to bear all of our
influence and resources."
but compare with:
Science, Vol 308, Issue 5723, 775 , 6 May 2005
Celera to End Subscriptions and Give Data to Public GenBank
A once-deafening debate over access to human genome sequence data ended
quietly last week. Celera Genomics Corp., the company that launched a
commercial effort to sequence the human genome and then set about making
money from the data, is closing its subscription-based database service
and will release its genomic data on humans, rats, and mice to the public.
Most scientists would probably say that the outcome was inevitable. "I
think the whole model ran its course and was superceded by the public
effort," says genome sequencer Richard Gibbs of Baylor University in
i suspect that the ACS is making a ton of money on information about
standard chemicals, whereas all the genomic stuff is still new and
venture capital based (i.e. speculative) and hence not as lucrative on
the open market.
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