H. Frederick DyllaDirector's Matters

Last week AIP held its spring governance meetings. We are fortunate that our Board members, who are all volunteers, dedicate a significant amount of their time to give their advice and counsel. On Wednesday, the Executive Committee met for a detailed discussion of AIP's financial matters. In light of the global recession affecting our business, the committee considered revised revenue projections for the FY09 budget and adjustments to expenditures presently being implemented to maintain a balanced budget. They also examined assumptions for constructing a 2010 budget for AIP. The same subjects were summarized to the full Governing Board during its meeting on Friday.

In preparation for these meetings, which coincide with the start of AIP's budget cycle, the Publishing Center looks at projected revenue from subscriptions and other publishing services, and estimates any significant changes in resources needed to deliver our publishing products (journal production, online hosting on Scitation, membership fulfillment, and editorial operations, for example). The Physics Resources Center projects the cost for delivering our suite of services (such as Physics Today, media services, career surveys, job services, and the Society of Physics Students) to Member Societies and other customers. Management estimates administrative and overhead costs to operate the institute. In the current environment, the global recession has caused a modest decrease in demand for our products, and currency realignments have made our products more expensive abroad. AIP Governing Board - Photo credit: Phillip Payette The net effect on AIP's FY09 budget is an approximate 3% reduction in revenues. To compensate, we have instituted a hiring freeze and have cut or delayed discretionary expenses, and will monitor both revenue and expenses very carefully throughout the year. Most important, we have pledged to the Governing Board that we will maintain our core services to the community and proceed with making key investments for upgrading and improving strategic services, such as Scitation.

The Board meeting was enlivened with two special presentations. In the morning, Charles Carter gave a Member Society spotlight on the science and programs of the American Crystallographic Association. In the afternoon, AIP Statistical Research Center director Roman Czujko presented the latest data on supply and demand of the physics workforce, at the bachelor's, master's, and PhD levels. Roman delivered the same talk to a standing-room-only crowd at the APS March meeting ten days ago in Pittsburgh. He focused heavily on common career paths in the private sector and highlighted the knowledge and skills that employers value.


Refining via "Scrum"
One of the processes AIP technology units have been developing over the past year is based on the Scrum method of managing projects. Scrum has the dual benefits of helping technology units manage their work, and business units manage their tasks and integrate better with technology units. For example, Scrum methodology allows stakeholders to view the process and contribute to it, which empowers business units to add, remove, and reprioritize requirements when they see fit. They can also add, remove, modify, or reprioritize future releases of a product or functionality. Initial feedback from business units has been positive; we will refine the process further as we learn more through each initiative. More details about Scrum methodology can be found in the Technology Blog.

Defining a new development strategy
On Friday, March 13, AIP development and several managers held a strategic retreat to discuss the future direction of AIP development efforts. At the retreat, Eric Javier of CCS Consulting presented the findings of CCS's development assessment and feasibility planning study. The study shed light on donor perceptions of the History Center and resulted in recommendations for the future direction of AIP development, including a plan on how to address fundraising needs and ensure fundraising success for Physics Resources programs. The findings and the insights from the discussion are still being carefully reviewed to determine the next steps in development restructuring efforts. However, AIP will be moving to implement many of the study's recommendations in the coming weeks and months, including more donor events.

Emilie Lorditch Impressive and deserved recognition
Congratulations to AIP Media & Government Relations' Emilie Lorditch, who has been selected as a 2009 National Press Foundation fellow for the "Understanding Violent Weather" seminar. Emilie is the manager and senior science editor of AIP's Telly Award–winning Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science program for local TV news; she has worked on the program for eight years. Emilie has a degree in geography and technical writing.

Who we are—Fulfillment and Marketing Services
In the March 16 issue, we provided an overview of the Fulfillment and Marketing Services division. This week we look at two major groups within the division and introduce you to more staff who help make AIP an exceptional service provider.

The Membership and Customer Service group (see page 21 of the organizational chart) provides an array of services to institutions, members, and other customers. The department specializes and supports the subscription management services, membership management services, and meeting registration services for 18 society partners as well as AIP's own publications. In addition, representatives in our online support area provide user support and real-time troubleshooting services for users that visit our Scitation platform, document stores, and the Library Service Center.

Fulfillment and Marketing Staff

The Database Operations group (see page 22 of the organizational chart) is responsible for the billing, order processing, and label generation/fulfillment for membership, institutional subscribers, consortia sales and meeting registrations for AIP, various AIP Member Societies, and other publishing partners.

The Operations section generates invoices and processes payments for membership dues and journals, meetings, donations, institution/non-member subscriptions, consortia, and single copy sales. The staff work closely with subscription agents to process many of the renewal orders via FTP (file transfer protocol), which processes a large portion of the revenue each year. In 2008, the unit processed over $125 million. It also generates electronic files of mailing labels for AIP and society titles for fulfillment of print subscriptions.

Fulfillment and Marketing Staff

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For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.