Society & Partner Zone Issue 11, Interviews

What our Society Partners say

Society Zone is excited to commence a new section that will include feedback from our valued society partners across a variety of subject disciplines. Our goal is to explore topics that affect all of Springer’s society partners, and then share the results regularly on Society Zone.

Society Zone in an interview with...

our valued society partners

What is your approach to attract new members, especially young and up-and-coming scientists?

Jean Wills, Executive Vice President of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS)

shares that the AOCS believes that the key is to update and customize the methods of communication to attract new members. The AOCS has found that the best communication channel is the Internet, and that using the same method that younger people use allows them to stay relevant and keep up with the younger scientists.

She states that, “The days are gone when flyers in the mail attracted young professionals, or word of mouth, because downsizing and consolidation has eliminated many of the longer term employees and caused younger employees to move jobs more frequently.” The AOCS has realized that younger professionals will learn the most about the society on the Internet, which means they also focus on the quality and value of products that are delivered on the society’s website.

Professor Wilfried Seidel, of the Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft (German Statistical Society)

shares that their primary focus is to offer high-quality scientific programs, as well as the opportunity for younger professionals to present and share their ideas. The Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft believes that it is very important and valuable to give these younger professionals the opportunity to discuss their ideas with more experienced and distinguished scientists, so that these up-and-coming scientists can realize these ideas and goals.

Jake Harris, Director of Publications at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

shares that the AAPS very much values student members, as they are the future of the organization. The AAPS has devoted a considerable amount of staff and financial resources towards the goal of attracting new student members, as well as providing them with professional development opportunities. Some examples of these special services include reduced registration rates for meetings, targeted professional development sessions, and mentoring events.

The AAPS also has both an online and on-site career center that provides educational and financial guidance and resources, and has established a committee dedicated to advancing the careers of these young and up-and-coming scientists. Mr. Harris was pleased to share additional details of this committee, known as their Student/Postdoc Outreach and Development (SPOD). This committee supports 70 student chapters in 13 countries, and each chapter is provided with an annual stipend of between $500 USD and $1,500 USD per year, based on the number of members, to support their scientific and social activities.

AAPS requires that only 10 members of each chapter be AAPS members, while all other participants need not be. In this way, the Association provides a home for students without their having a financial commitment. The SPOD committee also has $60,000 USD to support student-initiated multi-day, multi-university programs, and helped to fund 11 programs this year, many of which were outside of the United States.

How do you view the growing amalgamation of eJournal articles and eBook chapters on combined electronic platforms? In the online world, does it still matter to the reader whether content stems from a book or a journal?

Overall, the responses to this question are positive and the view of the trend towards electronic content is optimistic.

Jake Harris, Director of Publications at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

sees this amalgamation only growing more complex with time and the technological advances. He feels that as computing power continues to grow, more complex applications and platforms will be able to interact and mesh even more seamlessly.

According to the AAPS, speed, accuracy, and scientific innovation are the most highly valued factors to the reader. Traditionally, journal articles take less time to produce compared to that of book chapters, but with increasingly efficient production platforms, the production time is becoming shorter for books. For example, with eBooks, the delivery time of book content is nearly equivalent to downloading journal articles.

Mr. Harris states, “…regardless of 'media type', the researchers prize accuracy in the content, innovative thinking and results.”

Professor Wilfried Seidel, of the Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft (German Statistical Society)

believes that the amalgamation of eJournal articles and eBook chapters is a very positive trend. He feels that in the current online world, it does not make a difference to the reader if the content comes from a book or journal, as long as the quality is exceptional.

Jean Wills, Executive Vice President of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS)

believes that in the research community, the ease of access to resource material is priceless and the most valuable factor, and that “…It is ease and simplicity of use that will dictate mode of delivery.”

She states that since nothing makes information more accessible than a simple search and download, the advent of devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader have made that ease a part of daily life. She feels that there is a tremendous market demand for user friendly, easy to access products and now recreational readers are downloading all types of reading materials, regardless of the platform or the original publication source.

Society Zone thanks the society partners for this interview.