Monday, February 24, 2014

"ACS Continues To Build Foundations For Success"

From Ms. Madeleine Jacobs, an interesting little comment on ACS membership numbers in her 2013 summary (emphasis mine):
The challenges have been numerous. The uneven recovery of the global economy since the Great Recession and a divided federal government continue to seriously affect our members. Job growth has remained sluggish, and industrial layoffs in chemistry-related sectors continue. ACS members who depend on federal grants to conduct research have faced high hurdles in getting new or renewed grants. Many of the challenges facing the U.S. have also faced other developed as well as emerging nations. 
With this difficult environment as a backdrop, ACS again made a concerted effort to increase our membership in 2013. New member programs were designed and introduced, and enhanced marketing efforts were tailored to promote the value of ACS membership to each demographic group. Thanks to such efforts, ACS ended the year with 161,140 members, which was a drop of just 1.3% from the end of 2012. ACS remains the world’s largest scientific society, and I am confident that we have built an important foundation for growing our membership in the future.
I assume that no ACS CEO wants to be known as the one that lost the title of "world's largest scientific society", but I have to ask myself -- why is this a point of pride? Why is "we're really, really big" a big deal? I am sure that some of it translates into money, but most ACS revenue comes out of ACS Publications, so I don't really think it's dues money that drives this push.

If I were to pick three other adjectives as goals for ACS, it would be:
  • "The world's most influential scientific society"
  • "The world's most respected scientific society"
  • "The world's most fun scientific society" 
...and to a great extent, I am sure some of those might be true now. But no, we're probably better off thinking about being the world's biggest. 

[I am also looking forward to Ms. Jacobs' comments about " We have new and revamped career services launching later this year". Will be interesting!] 


  1. Think politics - Big = clout (and $$, especially from adverts).

  2. Million Dollar Baby is grateful that efforts to increase membership resulted in a loss. Time for new leadership, ACS members?

  3. for once, i am the 1%

  4. "but most ACS revenue comes out of ACS Publications, so I don't really think"
    you don't, you did, you did not.

    Most of teh (the) revenue(s) comes out of electronic publishing,

    ...not that it matters