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My friend is working in a publishing company that publishes scientific articles. It is an open-access company, meaning that the company's income comes from the authors instead of the reader of the articles. In another words, the amount of money that its share holders earn is proportionate to the number of articles that it publishes.

My friend suspects that this company is publishing sub-par articles, such as not taking the peer-review process seriously, so as to publish more articles that should not be published. To verify it, my friend is thinking of looking at the financial record/report of the company, but she is not in the financial department. Do you think that the company will allow my friend to access its financial records?

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  • Is this a public company? If so, the consolidated financial statements will be published (the 10-K and 10-Q forms if the company trades in the US). Or is it a private company? Regardless, it seems unlikely that the financial statements will tell you much. If you find out the company published 10,000 articles and charged $100 a piece, that doesn't tell you whether it published 9,999 quality articles and 1 shoddy one or vice versa. You'd be much better off looking at the journal's reputation in its field. It certainly sounds like a predatory journal. Aug 7, 2021 at 9:37

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Do you think that the company will allow my friend to access its financial records?

"Your friend" can obviously view any public financial documents, just as she could if she weren't an employee. There is less than zero chance they will allow her to access any internal financial records unless she has an actual business need to access those records - they will contain confidential information which she has no need to know in order to do her job.

Note that the same would effectively apply if she were in the financial department - will she might be able to access the records, doing so without a business need would be a serious breach of policy.

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  • @JeanDiharo Please stop proposing the same edit to this answer (1, 2). I'm not going to accept it. Thanks. (link) Aug 9, 2021 at 5:27
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There is no legal basis for a company to stop an employee from accessing publicly available documents, provided the documents are accessible to anybody who doesn't already work for the company. The company can refuse access to internal documents as part of their controls policy, and attempting to access those documents is typically a serious breach of policy, and in many jurisdictions, a crime.

The bigger concern is what to do with the information once it is received. Keep in mind that a majority of employees outside of executives and finance specialists don't have the experience or industry knowledge to fully understand the context of some of the intricacies of financial documents, and the chances of making an incorrect conclusion can be pretty high. While it's not wrong to make such a conclusion, presenting it or proposals based off of it can be a strain on the employee's working relationship.

An employer could potentially see the employee as a risk if he comes back with financial analysis of the company that is presented in a negative manner, especially if the employee also approaches the situation with a mind to make major changes. This is one of those situations where the employee needs to honestly consider whether acting on the information is worth losing their job, because the possibility exists any time you are perceived as "interfering" in the affairs of those above you

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