Monday, April 5, 2010
H. Frederick Dylla

Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

AIP Governing Board matters

Twice a year, AIP's 41-member Governing Board meets to discuss weighty matters along with some routine business matters. Board members are appointed by AIP's Member Societies to oversee products and services generated by AIP for the benefit of Societies' members and, through them, for the benefit of the physical science community. AIP was formed nearly 80 years ago for the purpose of providing publishing services for the Member Societies. Even though the world of society management and societal communications has changed significantly since 1931, AIP's products and services continue to bind the Member Societies together with mutual benefit.

At last Friday's Spring 2010 meeting, the Board was given the final accounting of AIP's financial results for 2009, which was anything but business as usual; rather, it has been "off normal" to use the language of a statistician or mathematician. The global financial situation put AIP and several of its Member Societies under stress. Even so, we were pleased to report to the Board that AIP completed 2009 with a modest budget surplus. Moreover, we were able to continue to invest in critical revenue-generating products, such as upgrading the Scitation online publishing platform and delivering new and innovative information products and services (e-books, UniPHY, and iResearch). John Haynes, VP, Publishing, presented a progress report on the ongoing initiative to strengthen not only AIP's core publishing products, such as Scitation, but also to transform AIP's fee-based publishing services business model into a value-added publishing partnership model.

During the afternoon session, Catherine O'Riordan, VP, Physics Resources Center, reported that PRC was able to maintain nearly all its outreach and educational services to the physics community last year, despite the financial constraints. To highlight just a few of PRC's services: Physics Today delivered nearly as much editorial content in 2009 as in the prior year, despite advertising revenue being significantly curtailed by the recession; the Statistical Research Center (SRC) initiated its focus on series—a new web product for SRC's surveys and workforce analyses; and the first year of the revamped Inside Science News Service resulted in significant pickup by the general media. Thanks are due to the Governing Board members who played key roles on PRC advisory committees during the past year.

A day-long board meeting can tend to hit the doldrums by early-afternoon, but not this meeting, thanks to a guest appearance by Steve Fetter, assistant director at-large of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. Fetter gave a "View from the White House," as he reviewed the national science policy issues during the first year of the Obama Administration, and some future plans. As AIP has reported in numerous FYI reports, there were significant increases for funding of science programs in both the FY2009 Stimulus Bill and in FY2010 appropriations for agencies with science portfolios.

Discussions on public policy continued in the afternoon session when Kevin Marvel, chair of our new Government Relations Advisory Committee, introduced a discussion and a draft motion on the need for a Board-level committee on public policy. The lively debate concluded with my pledge to work with the Member Societies to craft a mutually acceptable solution before the next Governing Board meeting. I thank the Board members for their spirited and useful debate on this subject.

Publishing Matters

AIP journals dive into the rental business

DeepDyve logo AIP issued a press release on March 23 announcing the "launch of a pilot program that allows individuals to 'rent' single articles for a 24-hour period for just $0.99. The service, created by DeepDyve, allows users to read, but not download or print, the full text of an article. Called 'Netflix for researchers' by some, the service gives corporations and institutions with more specialized collections affordable access to seminal AIP journal content. AIP will be offering their new article rental service on an experimental basis until the end of September, 2010." For more details, see the full press release:

PRC Matters

Sigma Pi Sigma grants a record 13 chapter project awards

SPS logo Thirteen undergraduate institutions have received 2010 Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Project Awards to fund chapter inductions and events—the most in the program's four-year history. These annual awards recognize chapter efforts to raise public awareness of the physics honor society, build Sigma Pi Sigma's student/alumni community, and promote inter-chapter activities.

Western Kentucky University Sigma Pi Sigma president April Pease (right) and president-elect Schuyler Wolff (left) during a recent observational trip at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. One of the notable awardees, Western Kentucky University (WKU), will use the grant funds to celebrate WKU Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter's remarkable history on April 24, 2010, by hosting their 50th annual induction ceremony. The ceremony will be open to all WKU Sigma Pi Sigma alumni, and special invitations will be extended to five alumnae, one from each of their five decades of existence, to address new inductees about the significance of membership in the national honor society and their experiences since graduation. See a complete list of the recipients, along with project summaries, on the Sigma Pi Sigma website.

Applications of laser technology

IPF 2010 In celebration of Laserfest 2010, the 52nd annual AIP Industrial Physics Forum is titled "Applications of Laser Technology." It will be held October 25-26, in conjunction with Frontiers in Optics 2010/Laser Science XXVI, in Rochester, NY. Three theme sessions range in topic from biomedical applications to environmental applications to metrology. The perennially popular Frontiers in Physics session—which addresses the most exciting physics research going on today, regardless of field—will feature invited talks on graphene, entangled atoms, and the new science stemming from the Large Hadron Collider and the Fermi Gamma Telescope. This special symposium is presented by AIP and OSA Corporate Associates.

Around AIP

Reduce, reuse, recycle

The American Center for Physics has contracted with a new recycling firm that offers single stream recycling. At AIP's College Park, MD, location, paper, glass, plastic, and metal items can be co-mingled in office and cubicle recycling receptacles. At AIP's Melville, NY, location, recyclable materials should still be separated. AIP strongly encourages everyone to keep the environment in mind when disposing of materials. Rinse food containers before recycling, and remember that if regular trash is mistakenly put in a recycling container, the entire container must be treated as regular trash.

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