Book Patch testing on de website of the American Contact Dermatitis Society 

In mid-2020 I came up with the idea to offer the digital files of my book Patch Testing, 4th edition, to the European Society of Contact Dermatitis and the American Contact Dermatitis Society, the two international scientific societies mainly focusing on contact allergies and contact dermatitis. Book sales were already declining considerably at that time and I knew it would fall even further. By the way: that was and is not a problem for me and I actually think it's fine. I am not financially dependent on it and, moreover, sending the books is always a hassle. In fact, I think I will pull the plug on acdegroot publishing at the end of this year (2022) and therefore stop book sales. I still have about 280 books left, but I could, for example, hand them out for free to participants of a conference of the Dutch Society for Dermatology and Venereology.  UPDATE: acdegroot publishing was terminated on October 1, 2022.

My current focus and goal is that as many dermatologists and their patients as possible can benefit from all the time and effort I have put into this project over the past 38 years, from 1984 when I began writing the first edition of the book. It has personally brought me a lot, namely a solid reputation among and appreciation of dermatologists and other specialists interested in contact allergy.

Well, how do I achieve that, as many people as possible benefitting from my work? One possibility is to make the book digitally available to the group of dermatologists interested in contact allergy. Many of them are members of the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS), the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (ESCD), or both organizations. The ACDS has about 2,500 members and the ESCD has some 320 members. The decision was made quickly and in June 2020 I contacted the ESCD and in December 2020 (I don't remember why I waited half a year) the ACDS. I will tell you how things went with the American Society below; you can read how my contacts with the Europeans went here.

In both images - from a very long time ago - strongly positive reactions to turpentine can be seen. This substance is made by steam distillation of the resin of coniferous trees (Pinus species mostly). In the past it was widely used for thinning paint, to clean brushes and in many other products such as wax. Nowadays other solvents are used for these products. Turpentine is no longer an important allergen, but in the past it frequently led to the development of allergic contact eczema of the hands of painters

The United States at its best

In December 2020, I contacted the ACDS to ask if they would be interested in the digital files of my book Patch testing, 4th edition, to put on their website and make it accessible online to their members. Earlier, I had already had good experiences with the American Contact Dermatitis Society. For example, Ponciano D. Cruz ('Chito'), then the editor-in-chief of Dermatitis (the official organ of the ACDS), published letters from me referring to the availability of digital updates of my book Patch Testing (and therefore also to the book itself). Reviews of all my books were also published, at a time when hardly any scientific journal had book reviews anymore. Furthermore, the 'Resources' page of the ACDS website lists 10 of my articles, 9 on fragrances and essential oils and 1 on propolis, all articles published in Dermatitis. And that's not all. Earlier, in 2019, I had been honored by the Americans with honorary membership in the ACDS.

Now I will explain to you why this paragraph is called 'The United States at its best'. That is clearly related to what I have described above, but especially with how the ACDS has handled my book offer. On December 9, 2020, almost half a year later than my offer to the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (I do not remember why I waited half a year before contacting the ACDS), I wrote to Ginger from the ACDS office the following email:


Dear Ginger,

I am considering to make the contents of my book Patch Testing, 4th edition ( available to the members of the ACDS. I have a pdf of the book in which can be searched for (part of) names and CAS numbers.  My idea is to have the pdf embedded somewhere on the ACDS website (presumably under ‘Resources’). It is, however, imperative that the contents CANNOT be copied and downloaded from the site (as is now the case with the articles shown at resources) and is available ONLY to ACDS members. I know this is technically possible and not that difficult.

Details have to be discussed, of course, but would the Leadership of the ACDS be interested in my offer? I do NOT request financial compensation and fully accept that it may have a negative impact on my commercial activities in acdegroot publishing.

Best regards,  
Anton C. de Groot, MD, PhD


Two hours and 21 minutes later I received the following an answer from Ginger:

Hello Dr. de Groot,

Thank you for your generous offer. We can definitely arrange for content to be put behind member login and not have it downloadable or shareable. I have slotted this onto the January board agenda for discussion with leadership and will be in touch after the meeting.

Regards, Ginger


Pats, boom, that's how it can be, Europe (where after six months my offer had not yet been accepted). It took a while before I heard anything again. They were working on it, Ginger informed me after a while, but she was still looking for the best technical possibilities and she would inform me of any news. In the meantime I had had several contacts with John, the ESCD's website builder. He was already well on his way to developing suitable software (by the way: while my offer had not yet been accepted). I then informed Ginger of this. To make a (not so very) long story short: Ginger did indeed contact John, who was then instructed to further develop the software and place the files of my book on the ACDS website. I made corrections 2x or 3x, and sometime in the fall the members of the ACDS were already informed in a mailing that the book would soon be available for viewing on the website. 'A huge thank you goes out to Dr. de Groot for his generous offer'.

Shortly after my last round of corrections, Ginger informed me on December 3 that the book would go live on the ACDS website 2 days later, December 5, 2021. Everything arranged within a year! I then asked if I could show John's most recent demo, which largely corresponds to the web version, to the Board of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis and within an hour I was granted permission. And not only that, she offered the ESCD Board members could also get temporary access to the website……….

I'm sure you now understand why I wrote 'The United States at its best'? So fast, so efficient, friendly, decisive and grateful….


Oh yes, almost forgot. A few months after I made the offer of my book to the ACDS, Ginger told me by email that the Presidential Citation Award was granted to me. It didn't say what it was for, but I asked her if it was because of the book and she confirmed it. Later I received the official letter with accompanying beautiful plaque.


When I had finished writing the fifth edition of Patch testing I sent the files to Ginger and within a few days this most recent version was already posted on the ACDS website.


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