Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A variety of numbers from the recent ACS Council meeting in Boston

From the inbox, a respected correspondent has some interesting numbers to share on the data from the latest ACS ChemCensus. This information was written by the correspondent and edited for clarity and formatting by CJ:
The Census, conducted every 5 years, is sent to domestic ACS members that are not: students, internationally-based, emeritus, or over 70 years old. Of our ~current membership of 157,000, only 73,000 members were contacted for the ChemCensus. For those of us keeping score that is less than 50% of our membership  (all numbers are rounded, 72977 was the actual number.) 
The percentage of ACS members in academia is now at 38%, up from 24% in 2004. The percentage of Industry (manufacturing*) ACS members is 42%, down from 54% in 2004. The % in industry (non-manufacturing, govt and self employed) has remained relatively flat over the decade at 12%, 7% and 2% respectively. 
The ChemCensus response was about 24,000, or ~33%.  
ACS has an 84% retention rate; with a churn of ~25,000 members not renewing (a few hundred die every year). Half of that 25K is students, we are told.  
The loss of industrial members is not particularly surprising, but is disappointing nonetheless. Here's hoping for a renaissance.

*This definition is pretty broad and self-reported, as I recall. 


  1. CJ, a genuine curiosity here: what is it you find so valuable about ACS membership? I guess I just don't see it.

    1. Great question, Anon. I guess I am old-fashioned and I see professional society membership as one way to channel civic virtue. I'll say the same thing about what I get out of ACS membership:

      1. 51 issues of a pretty great magazine.
      2. Cheap insurance.
      3. Access to ACS video presentations
      4. A vague sense of belonging

    2. For me, the 25 free papers is a big factor. As an industrial chemist, I cannot just download journal papers willy-nilly, as we have to pay for each one individually in most cases. There are easily a couple articles I run across each month that are things I want to read, but aren't quite work-related enough to purchase through the company. My ACS membership covers that gap nicely.

  2. I agree with Anonymous. I have been an ACS member for 15+ years and fail to see any tangible benefits. This is my last year as a member, only because I need time to disengage from various ACS office positions.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20