Assembly of Society Officers marks its 50th year
On March 26, AIP held its annual Assembly of Society Officers in College Park, MD. This tradition extends back 50 years and is a prime opportunity for the officers and key staff under the AIP umbrella to interact. As scientific associations that provide services to the community, including the publication of scholarly journals, we share common concerns and often contend with similar issues. The Assembly brings together both Member and Affiliated Society representatives (shown right) in a unique forum to discuss concerns and share best practices.
As we plan for the Assembly by soliciting topic suggestions from our society contacts and Governing Board members, timely thematic issues easily rise to the top. Last year, for example, we addressed two hot-button topics: the impact of the open-access movement on scholarly publishing and the mutual desire to infuse diversity in society membership to be more representative of the population as a whole. Publishing and public policy are constants, so there are typically sessions addressing these areas each year. With the economy weighing heavily on everyone's mind (and budget) and with anticipation over the new administration's plans for science, there was much to discuss at this year's meeting.
The first session, on scientific and technical publishing, gave an overview of how publishing is continually evolving to address the needs of the consumer—from student to librarian, from researcher to industrial scientist developing new technologies. Publishers such as AIP and our Member and Affiliated Societies must remain adaptable to remain viable. With the ever-increasing body of knowledge, individuals look for ways to effectively manage information. They also seek to present their data in a creative, dynamic way. The audience learned about new visualization tools that can enhance the data's usability and stimulate social networking. The second session, on strategic fundraising, provided insight on trends in charitable giving during times of economic strife: Individual donors remain relatively committed to their causes, whereas other sources, such as corporations, tend to pull back on giving. The speakers also cautioned associations to continually build relationships with their stakeholders; the case for giving will be stronger and the cause more personal when the stakeholders are in a better financial position. The third session looked at opportunities for science in light of the stimulus bill and considered what scientific societies can do to advance their discipline under the current administration. A panel of five past AIP and Member Society Congressional Fellows (shown left) also spoke about their experiences and the value of their scientific background in communicating with members of Congress about scientific issues. We wrapped up the day with a session on how various societies interface with the global community. This topic was chosen because many societies have been experiencing an increasing uptick in foreign members. A panel of society executives discussed how their organizations evolved in terms of developing working membership models, stronger partnerships with other national societies abroad, and such provisions as adjusted member benefits and advocacy efforts.
Physics Today Online (PTOL), with contributions from AIP's Paul Guinnessy, Richard Jones and Jennifer Greenamoyer, published a summary of the Assembly in its We Hear That column. You can also access each speaker's presentation through the Assembly of Society Officers website.
Bonding with chemical physicists
AIP recently hosted the Journal of Chemical Physics (JCP) booth at the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2009 spring meeting. The ACS meeting brought nearly 10,000 scientists and educators to Salt Lake City, UT. The journal's new editor, Marsha Lester, and some of the associate editors made scheduled appearances at the booth to chat with members of JCP's author and reviewer community. Before the meeting, JCP authors were alerted of the opportunity to meet the editors; AIP also ran an ad in the ACS Show Daily, distributed on-site. Lester's appearances at the booth drew high traffic and generated lively discussions. While in Salt Lake City, two JCP editorial gatherings took place—an all-day planning session and the annual editorial board meeting. John Haynes, AIP's vice president of Publishing, joined the discussion about the future direction of the journal. JCP's presence at this important conference serves to strengthen AIP's bonds with the journal's community.
Physics degrees: Are we peaking?
The staff of the Statistical Research Center collect data from the chairs of physics and astronomy departments each year, and have documented recent increases in physics degree production. The number of bachelor's degrees grew by more than 50% between 1999 and 2007 (as shown in the chart to the right), while the number of PhDs grew by more than 30% between 2004 and 2007. However, estimates of the number of degrees awarded to the class of 2007-08 indicate that we may be hitting another peak. The number of physics bachelor's degrees and physics PhDs awarded this last academic year each appears to have grown by less than 1% from the previous year.
New, more cost-effective platform for MACS
Over the past year, Business Systems and Operations re-architected the MACS (Membership And Customer Service) platform used by AIP's Fulfillment and Marketing division. The goal was to reduce redundancy and improve cost-effectiveness by using free and open-source software. This work was completed last weekend as the MACS database was migrated to a new version of Oracle running on virtualized Linux servers. The new database provides faster failover and takes advantage of cheaper licensing for Oracle on Linux. The eCommerce sites were also re-architected and re-deployed in stages, using a combination of free and open-source software for development, testing, and version control as well as an open-source operating system (Linux) and java application server. Using our VMware virtual server infrastructure facilitated the deployment of the enhanced service across our data centers.
Hello, Mr. Taxman
For some people, tax season is welcomed with the anticipation of a refund; others find themselves searching for tax deductions to lessen the pain. AIP offers many benefit programs on a pre-tax basis, which lower taxable income. For example, through the TransitChek program in New York and SmartTrip in Maryland, you can have up to $230 per month deducted from your salary on a pre-tax basis for commuting to work on mass transit (while reducing your carbon footprint). Participate in the Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) plan or increase your current annual contribution (the 2009 IRS maximum limit is $16,500 with an additional $5,500 for individuals over 50). If you want to change your tax withholdings, tax forms are located on the Employease Network in the Payroll Forms section of the Company Guide. Stop by Human Resources to learn more about these and other programs or to sign up.
Who we are—Journal Advertising and Exhibits
The AIP Journal Advertising and Exhibits division is based in the Melville Publishing Center. Robert Finnegan leads a team of journal advertising sales staff with extensive experience selling advertising in scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publications, as well as selling a variety of online advertising products. The division (shown on page 23 of the organizational chart) currently handles print advertising sales and production services for two AIP journals, six Member Society journals, and two Member Society magazines. It also provides sales and online production services for eight online Member Society publications and ten AIP online journals on Scitation.
In 2009 the division will provide exhibit booth sales and exhibition management services for four AIP Member Societies (APS, AAPT, ACA and the Advance Surface Engineering Division of AVS) and two additional scientific societies (the North American Catalysis Society and the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society).