...Members always tell us that communicating scientific knowledge—through meetings, journals, and particularly C&EN—is most important to them. On the other hand, our ability to help with career maintenance and advancement has been working its way up the importance ladder. I think we’ve made good progress on both counts.
We’re doing a better job of linking the three pillars of the American Chemical Society—Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), ACS Publications (Pubs), and the membership organization—into a cohesive member- and customer-facing unit. There are now basic benefits in Pubs and CAS that come with membership, including free article downloads and SciFinder tasks. There are opportunities for purchasing additional articles and subscriptions at low prices. For the retired, self-employed, or unemployed chemist this provides substantial value.
We’re thinking more globally in all three units. Most of our revenue as a society comes from outside the U.S., and a growing number of authors and editors for our publications are based around the world. A substantial portion of the articles and patents that CAS indexes comes from other countries. And as people the world over become more familiar with our products, we can credibly make the case that membership is a benefit that draws them yet closer to the largest and most diverse scientific society in the world.
Our Career Pathways Workshops do a great job of teaching members, and particularly students, what the world is like out there and how to break into it. I know these tools are useful because as an ACS Career Consultant, I’ve helped people launch themselves. There is nothing more gratifying than when one of your students gets a job.
...Looking toward the future, alongside those achievements lie two important challenges: how to increase membership in countries where it is uncommon to belong to any membership organization, including a professional society, and how to keep recent graduates in the U.S. engaged with us as they move into and through their careers—especially if those careers are not in traditional chemistry jobs.My comments:
- No mention of the historically high unemployment rates for new graduates and current members during his tenure on the board.
- The implication that 25 free downloads or 25 free SciFinder searches is a "substantial value" is laughable on its face. It's helpful, but far from the generosity one would hope from a scientific society that seems to be able to be quite generous to its senior executives.
- What I find most depressing is the recognition from the Chairman of the Board of the American Chemical Society that students who graduate with degrees in chemistry won't be working in "traditional chemistry jobs." No attempt to struggle with this problem -- just a seeming shrug. He'll be gone, but we'll still be here.