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DRAFT MINUTES SIGMA XI, THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SOCIETY by yuf91309

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									                            DRAFT MINUTES
             SIGMA XI, THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
                 Meeting of the Committee on Publications
                          Sigma Xi Headquarters
                  Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
                          Tuesday, June 13, 2006

1.     A meeting of the Committee on Publications of Sigma Xi, The Scientific
Research Society, was held at the Sigma Xi Center, Research Triangle Park, North
Carolina, June 13, 2006, with the committee’s Chair, Dr. Lawrence Kushner,
presiding. The meeting began at 8:30 a.m. and concluded at 1:30 p.m.

2.    PRESENT

      Lawrence M. Kushner                             Rosalind Reid
      Howard Ceri                                     Patrick D. Sculley
      J. Madeleine Nash (teleconference)              A. F. (Fred) Spilhaus, Jr.

      By Invitation:
      Katie Lord, Associate Publisher, American Scientist
      David Schoonmaker, Managing Editor, American Scientist

PROVISIONAL AGENDA

3.     Dr. Kushner welcomed the participants and asked if there were additions
or changes to the provisional agenda. Hearing no comments, the provisional
agenda was adopted.

MINUTES OF THE JUNE 14, 2005, MEETING

4.    Dr. Kushner asked if there were any corrections or additions to the
minutes of the previous year’s meeting. Hearing no comments, Dr. Kushner
moved for approval, Ms. Nash seconded, and the minutes were approved.

DATE FOR THE 2007 MEETING

5.     After some discussion, it was agreed that the second Tuesday in June,
the 12th, would be the tentative date, with June 5 reserved as an alternative date
pending finalization of Dr. Ceri’s schedule

AMERICAN SCIENTIST OPERATIONS REVIEW AND PLANNING

6.    Ms. Lord reported on advertising and circulation.
      · Fiscal year 2006 saw some improvement in revenues at American Scientist
       compared with 2005. Projected revenues were $546,178, 0.7 percent short
       of the budget goal of $550,000. Advertising revenue continued to drop
       during the year and to lag behind tech-sector advertising nationally.
      · The effort to reverse the downward trend in advertising by hiring an
       outside advertising representative, James G. Elliott Company of Los

                  DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
            June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 1 of 8
 Angeles, did not work. (Ms. Lord’s recommendations on advertising are
 included as a separate agenda item for the meeting.)
· Subscription revenues are a more positive story for the fiscal year. They
 rose by almost $24,000 during the year and are now the highest they have
 been in the past seven years. Further, retention rates are very good. From
 2005 to 2006, 70 percent of individuals and 91 percent of institutions
 renewed, for a total retention of 76 percent. There will also be targeted
 subscription-solicitation mailings to three test lists in the fall, those of
 Science, Scientific American and IEEE.
· Newsstand sales also recovered considerably from FY 2005. Distribution
 was switched to Curtis with the January–February 2005 issue and has
 increased by 27,000 copies for the year.

Discussion: Dr. Kushner asked whether the strong advertising years of FY
2003 and 2004 were when Kate Miller was associate publisher. Ms. Lord
responded that this was the case and that Ms. Miller had handled sales
internally. Dr. Sculley pointed out that the decline in circulation to less
than 100,000 copies per issue has proved to be a major barrier to
advertising sales.
Dr. Ceri asked how much we make on institutional subscriptions and
whether the magazine might be sent for free to university libraries to
increase circulation and exposure. Ms. Lord noted that copies distributed
for free cannot be counted as audited circulation. Dr. Spilhaus noted the
magazine charges only $65 for an institutional subscription, which isn’t
much, and wondered how electronic subscriptions fit in. Ms. Reid noted
that institutional site licenses are growing rapidly but still have not been
adopted by many institutional subscribers.
Dr. Spilhaus noted that he was impressed with the newsstand sales
increase, and Dr. Ceri mentioned that he can now find American Scientist
in his neighborhood supermarket in Calgary. Ms. Lord said that
newsstand sales were largely responsible for an increase in audited
circulation during calendar 2005, the first increase since 2001. Dr. Sculley
also noted that the membership decline appears to have slowed.
Dr. Kushner asked when the new affiliate program will begin, and Dr.
Sculley responded that it begins July 1, 2006, and may help with
circulation.
Dr. Spilhaus asked if there are institutions with multiple subscriptions and
whether they might be offered a better rate, and Dr. Ceri agreed with the
suggestion. Ms. Reid noted the suggestion, and Dr. Spilhaus added that it
might feed into the affiliate program.
Dr. Ceri asked if school boards have been targeted for institutional
subscriptions, and Dr. Sculley replied that American Scientist must be
careful about competing with Sigma Xi, as in the new affiliate program.
American Scientist covers and their success on the newsstand were
discussed. Dr. Spilhaus asked Ms. Lord to define sell-through, and Ms.
Lord explained that it is the percentage sold of newsstand copies
distributed. Dr. Kushner asked if the unsold copies go to waste and Ms.
Lord confirmed this.
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     June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 2 of 8
      Dr. Sculley suggested that Ms. Lord report on the $5 extra membership
      charge to send back issues of American Scientist. Ms. Lord noted that the
      program had cut the number of back issues mailed and had generated
      about $30,000 in revenue. Dr. Sculley added that there were about 100
      member complaints but only three dropped memberships.
      Dr. Kushner asked whether chapters holding science fairs get extra copies
      of the magazine, and Ms. Reid noted that the ability to buy bulk issues at
      discount is mentioned in the chapter officers’ manual. Dr. Sculley
      suggested that a reminder of this program be included in the next e-mail
      blast to chapter officers. Ms. Lord also mentioned that copies are
      distributed for free at one conference each year; it was Neuroscience for
      FY 2006.

7.    Ms. Reid reported on editorial matters.
      · After the previous years of staff transitions, the staff has settled in and is
       working very well together.
      · Although the magazine won no awards in FY 2006, one of its article was
       featured in the compilation, Best American Science Writing of 2005.
      · The magazine’s version of “In the News” was started in the July–August
       2005 issue. Besides providing content to readers, it serves as a marketing
       tool for e-newsletters, the largest area of current growth.
      · In partnership with MIT and Harvard, and with NSF funding, Image and
       Meaning Workshops were introduced.
      · The European republication project with Scientific American has
       continued to be successful. Although budgeted for $25,000 in revenue for
       the fiscal year, it now appears that $35,000 is likely. The agreement with
       the European publishers has been altered for reasons of equity, and they
       are now required to reserve articles and pay in advance, which has, at
       least temporarily, reduced usage.

      Discussion: Dr. Ceri wondered whether there could be an arrangement
      with European publishers to buy a fixed number at a given price over a
      period of time, and Dr. Spilhaus observed that this would present a
      problem in countries were there are multiple publications competing for
      American Scientist articles. Ms. Reid noted that the greatest resistance to
      the new agreement has come from Spain, where there are no competing
      publications.
      Dr. Spilhaus wondered whether the magazine receives PDFs of the
      translated articles, and Ms. Reid responded that it does. These can be
      posted on the Web site, but the magazine doesn’t own them, cannot
      charge for them and does not promote them. They are mainly a benefit to
      members.
      Dr. Spilhaus asked if a relationship had been pursued with a Japanese
      publisher, and Ms. Reid replied that none had come forward. She offered
      to check with coordinator in New York City.

8.    Mr. Schoonmaker reported on expense-budget matters. Graphs showing
budget trends over the past decade are included in the meeting notebook.
                  DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
            June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 3 of 8
     · Paper costs continued to rise during the fiscal year but at a lower rate
      than in FY 2005. Some additional increase is possible early in FY 2007.
     · Over time, manufacturing has become a smaller and smaller part of the
      budget, both overall and per copy printed, although paper prices once
      again pushed a small rise in per-copy cost during FY 2006.
     · Because budgeting was done in January, some unexpected increases in
      paper cost, postage and CPI have produced what is likely to be a budget
      shortfall by the end of FY 2007. Analysis of the budget for areas of
      economy suggests that printing about six pages per issue in black, rather
      than four-color ink, should take care of this potential deficit.

9.   Ms. Reid and Ms. Lord reported on American Scientist Online.
     · Ms. Lord reported that online revenues were slightly ($794) below
      budget of $49,572. (Note: This number is not directly comparable to that
      cited in last year’s minutes, as this year’s revenues do not include
      subscription income generated from the Web site.)
     · Of this revenue, advertising was under budget, but site licenses and e-
      commerce made up for nearly all that shortfall. Of the e-commerce, the
      majority is PDF sales.
     · Ms. Lord noted that page views have jumped 26 percent overall since
      Google deep linking was initiated. Five of the nine months for which data
      are available have seen more than two million page views, and the
      number of users have exceeded 100,000 for six months, peaking at more
      than 140,000 users in December and January.
     · A new contract with Lane Digital was negotiated effective March 2006.
      The revenue sharing arrangement has been scrapped in favor of a flat
      $2,000 monthly fee. This amount should be equal to or less than the
      shared revenues and requires much less accounting. Further, the $.50 fee
      paid for each e-commerce order has been eliminated, removing the
      concern over free member PDF downloads.
     · Ms. Lord explained the way that revenues from sales of paper magazine
      subscriptions at the Web site are allocated. The first $17,700 serves as a
      baseline (the level prior to the launch of the new Web site), and the FY
      2005 revenue exceeded that baseline by $17,000.
     · Ms. Lord enumerated the advertisers who have purchased space at
      American Scientist Online, and noted that Google Ad Sense is restricted to
      abstract landing pages. Advertising revenue for the site is up 40 percent
      from FY 2004 to FY 2005.
     · As the Web site has now achieved revenue levels that cover its expenses
      other than salaries and has become a Society institution, the Committee
      on Finance approved incorporating American Scientist Online into the
      overall operations budget for FY 2007, although its expenses and
      revenues will continue to be tracked separately.
     · Ms. Reid discussed progress with the three e-newsletters, noting the
      steadily increasing subscription trends.


                DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
          June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 4 of 8
      Discussion: Dr. Ceri asked if we know how many members use the Web
      site, and Ms Lord replied that not many log in. (Without log-in, it is
      impossible to tell whether a member or non-member visited the site.) She
      added that we do know that Web users are younger than the median
      Sigma Xi member. Ms. Reid said that many of the visitors are students,
      but we also know anecdotally that members value the Web site highly. Dr.
      Ceri noted that youth visitors are yet another reason to focus marketing
      efforts on school systems.
      Ms. Nash joined the discussion at 10:35 a.m. by speaker phone.

10.   Ms. Reid described progress in instituting the Bugliarello Prize.
      · The prize is now fully funded at $150,000, and $147,780 remains in the
      fund after advertising the prize in the Chronicle of Higher Education..
      · The $5,000 prize will be given for the first time at the 2007 Sigma Xi
      Annual Meeting for an article published in 2005 or 2006. There have
      already been a few submissions, and the editors have identified
      candidates to date.
      Discussion: Dr. Ceri asked if the winner would give a talk at the Annual
      Meeting, and Dr. Sculley noted that more scientific content is always
      worthwhile at the meeting. Ms. Reid questioned whether a good writer
      necessarily would give a good talk.
      Ms. Nash asked how often the prize would be given, and Ms. Reid replied
      that it would be every other year, at most.
      Dr. Kushner commented that Dr. Bugliarello is attempting to stimulate
      something new in editorial content and that he is surprised that such
      articles already exist. Ms. Reid explained that at least initially the prize
      definition is a little broader than it might be in the future.
      Dr. Spilhaus asked if the editors are prepared to walk away if at the end of
      two years there appears to be no worthy candidate and noted that it
      would be important to be able to do that. Ms. Reid said that was definitely
      the case, and Dr. Spilhaus suggested that the prize interval might be
      described as “not more often than every two years.”

11.   Ms. Lord described her recommendations for addressing the drop in
advertising in American Scientist.
      · Ad representatives are generally uninterested in publications with
      circulation under 90,000, because ad agencies won’t consider them.
      Therefore, it might be best to bring general advertising sales in-house and
      let a book-specialty firm, Marketing Services, sell ads for “Scientists’
      Bookshelf.”

      Discussion: Dr. Sculley noted that it is important to maintain efforts in
      order to be ready to take advantage of a circulation surge from affiliates.
      Dr. Ceri observed that a successful ad representative must understand the
      readership and be able identify key markets. The focus should be on
      sectors where American Scientist has clear advantages. He noted that the
      right people can make a huge difference.
                  DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
            June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 5 of 8
      Conversation then turned to what some of the key markets might be.
      Suggestions included cruise lines, retirement funds and armed services.
      Ms. Lord added that historically travel and financial are strong markets
      for the magazine, and noted that Subaru has decided to come back in.
      Dr. Ceri wondered whether academic recruitment might be a good area,
      but Ms. Reid noted that the magazine’s turnaround presents a problem.
      Dr. Ceri wondered how much ad representatives cost, and Ms. Lord
      replied that its normally 20 percent of sales.
      Dr. Kushner asked Ms. Lord if she was proposing to terminate the
      relationship with J. G. Elliott, and she responded that that was the case.
      He added that she has the support of the committee and that historically
      the strongest sales have come from in-house efforts.

10.    The next topic of discussion was the development of a written statement
of purpose for the magazine. Ms. Reid said that suggestions often come for
additions or changes to the magazine, and it would helpful to have a purpose so
that such proposals can be judged as to their consistency with that purpose.

      Discussion: Dr. Kushner commented that the magazine’s purpose is to help
      Sigma Xi fulfill its mission, but that identifies strategies more than
      purpose. He noted that it is science’s version of “all the news that’s fit to
      print,” and that one goal should be to get people to look into things that
      are new to them—inspire curiosity.
      Dr. Sculley observed that there are inner and outer views of the
      magazine’s purpose. It communicates to the Society’s members, but it also
      represents the Society in the world. It should embrace the entire range
      from Ph.Ds. to affiliates, fostering an appreciation of science and the
      scientific method.
      Dr. Spilhaus suggested that having something brief in the magazine
      would be a good idea, and such a statement might involve propagating a
      better understanding of science and nature. It should get people to think
      about bigger problems.
      Ms. Nash brought up the multi-disciplinary nature of American Scientist,
      observing that it is a bridge between balkanized communities. Dr. Ceri
      responded that the next generation of scientists are asking questions that
      aren’t siloed within one discipline. Fostering interdisciplinary fusions is
      important.
      Dr. Ceri asked how Scientific American was doing, and after an update
      from Ms. Reid, a discussion ensued about capitalizing on Sigma Xi’s
      prestige to promote the magazine. He wondered how to brand that? Ms.
      Reid offered that the magazine could quote more important, well-known
      scientists.
      Ms. Reid said that she would draft something and send it by e-mail to
      the committee members, and Dr. Sculley noted that whatever was
      agreed on should be sent to the Society’s Board of Directors.

LUNCH
                  DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
            June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 6 of 8
11.   Sigma Xi Director of Development Kristen Greenaway presented the new
Sigma Xi promotional DVD over lunch.

12.     Ms. Reid informed the committee that JSTOR, The Scholarly Journal
Archive, had invited American Scientist to become one of three general science
publications in the archive. Content older than three to five years would be
available, and all issues back to 1913 would be digitized. Licensing involves the
collective work, so there should be restrictions on content only that specifically
barred electronic display.

       Discussion: Ms. Nash cautioned that the magazine should be very careful
       not to tread on photographers’ toes, and Ms. Lord enquired whether this
       service is available only to libraries and universities. Ms. Reid said that
       was the case.
       Ms. Reid asked for the committee’s opinion on providing access for
       members. Various financial arrangements are available. Dr. Ceri said it
       would not be of interest to him, as he has access through the University of
       Calgary.
       Dr. Spilhaus asked if the magazine would be relying on JSTOR as an
       electronic archive, and Ms. Reid said that it would, but that Sigma Xi
       could also serve the content.
       Dr. Ceri asked what this would cost, and Ms. Reid said that there is a one-
       time fee of $1,200 to $1,500 and thereafter has a revenue-sharing
       arrangement with publishers. She also mentioned that the current
       arrangements with EBSCO, Proquest and Gale Group, which serve text
       only, are hard to police, and JSTOR will allow us to pull back from the
       other agreements.
       Dr. Spilhaus noted that this is a necessary thing for any society. The only
       question is, how do you do it? Dr. Sculley observed that the Society
       simply can’t afford to do it. Dr. Ceri commented that as long as the
       agreement is non-exclusive and Sigma Xi gets back content, it’s a no-lose
       situation. Further, it’s likely to increase awareness of American Scientist
       and Sigma Xi.
       Dr. Kushner indicated that the Committee on Publications goes on
       record as endorsing moving ahead with a JSTOR arrangement as issues
       are resolved.

13.    Ms. Reid informed the committee that the Committee on Strategic
Planning has asked for a business plan for a version of American Scientist for
young people, and Ms. Lord mentioned that this would also offer something
tangible for affiliates. They went on to describe an article with the working title
“The Amateur Scientist.” It could be delivered in an e-newsletter and, if
sponsorship could be found, in the paper magazine.

       Discussion: Dr. Ceri said that his first concern would be liability for any
       experiments suggested, and Ms. Reid mentioned that Shawn Carlson, who
       did the columns for Scientific American had been approached.

                   DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
             June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 7 of 8
      Ms. Nash what the relative merits of publishing this in the magazine
      versus and electronic medium might be, and Dr. Ceri suggested
      publishing the best of them in the magazine. He also suggested
      announcing a hypothesis and having readers submit experiments for
      testing the hypothesis.
      Ms. Reid opined that she thought informal science would be worthwhile
      in the magazine, and Ms. Nash agreed, saying that it might increase Sigma
      Xi’s reach across society.

14.    Ms. Reid informed the committee that Antonio Pita, Chair of the
International Committee, would like explore ways to get European members
more involved in the magazine. Perhaps they could review books or have a
special section that rides along with the magazine or Web page.

ADJOURNMENT

13.   Dr. Kushner asked if there was further business. Hearing no comments, he
thanked all the participants and adjourned the meeting at 1:30 p.m.




                 DRAFT Minutes – Sigma Xi Committee on Publications
           June 13, 2006 – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Page 8 of 8

								
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