Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
Members Present: H. R. Crane – Chairman, J. A. Burton, W. W. Havens, Jr., E. Leonard Jossem, H. William Koch, A. I. Mahan
Absent: Gerald Holton, G. A. Jeffrey
AIP Staff Present: H. William Koch, Director; Sidney Millman, acting for the Secretary; G. F. Gilbert, Treasurer; Lewis Slack, Assoc. Director for General Activities; Robert H. Marks, Associate Director for Publishing; Dorothy M. Lasky, Assistant to the Director
Chairman Crane called the meeting to order at 7:00 a.m. Breakfast was served at 7:05 and business was resumed at about 7:30 a.m.
The Chairman reported that mail ballots approving the minutes of the November 15, 1973, Executive Committee meeting had been received from all but two members who did not respond. Upon motion made, seconded, and passed without dissent, the mail ballot approving the November 15, 1973, Executive Committee meeting minutes was ratified.
2. Fiscal Matters
Status of Report of Subscription Fulfillment Consultant
Gilbert reported that the subscription fulfillment consultants, McCaffery, Seligman and von Simson, Inc. (MSV), delivered two copies of their report entitled “Evaluation of the Subscription Fulfillment Function at the American Institute of Physics” on February 1. The 171-page report contains a number of recommendations covering changes in work flow, clerical procedures and organization structure, and gives cost data. It is obvious that the staff will have to devote a considerable effort to studying the recommended changes and react to them.
A cursory examination reveals that a significant portion of the report is devoted to the problem of handling nonmember agency orders due to the increase in costs for servicing nonmember orders. These orders come in either direct or through an agency. Over the years, the number coming in through agencies has increased dramatically and there are a tremendous number of complications that resulted. The MSV report recommends a separate unit for handling the agency orders. In the case of the very dedicated agencies, they relieve the subscriber of all the correspondence. To us, they represent cash orders. However, when a customer switches from agency ordering to direct ordering, it often results in initial duplication of orders which must then be resolved.
The MSV report will, of course, be made available to the Advisory Committee on Dues Billing and Subscription Fulfillment. The AIP staff and the Committee will meet with Von Simson after the staff has studied the report.
Status of Computer Proposal
Gilbert read M. R. Martino’s memorandum of February 1, 1974 (copy attached as Exhibit A). The latest Martino recommendation is to defer decision on a new computer, principally because of a 50% increase in cost and also because of the advisability of evaluating the recommendations of the MSV report before making any decisions about a new computer and/or peripheral equipment and software systems therefor. Moreover, if the increased pressure on UNIVAC for improved preventive maintenance of the tape drives is fruitful there will be less urgency for acquiring a new computer.
Report on Investment Advisory Account for Calendar Year 1973
Gilbert noted that the purpose of the Investment Advisory Account is to back up our reserve for building depreciation. Following our previous understanding with the Executive Committee, a report on this account is to be submitted at the end of each calendar year. Copies of a letter from Bankers Trust Company dated January 28, 1974, were distributed and a copy is attached to these minutes as Exhibit B. The letter shows the performance of our account for calendar year 1973 and for the period December 31, 1970, to December 31, 1973, as compared with Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow jones Industrials. It was three years ago that we decided to change the nature of the portfolio so that it is now 75% in common stocks and 25% in bonds. We had a very good year in 1972. A few copies of the portfolio were distributed; additional copies are available for anyone who may be interested.
3. Publishing Matters
Negotiations in Moscow, March 4-7, 1974
Koch reported on a planned trip to Moscow by Koch and Marks for the purpose of negotiating an agreement with respect to the Russian reproduction and translation of AIP and Society journals in exchange for AIP’s right to continue the translation and publication of 15 Russian physics journals. A two-page memorandum by Koch was distributed and is attached as Exhibit C.
Koch emphasized that the trip is exploratory and that no concluding agreements will be made without the approval of the AIP Executive Committee and the Society councils. He felt that it was particularly important to clarify the situation with respect to the seven journals which are being done by Plenum Press under contract with AIP which is scheduled to end in 1975. We want to insure that we will have the right to publish all of the 15 translated Russian journals after 1975 as well.
Crane said that our best chance of making an agreement with the Russians is to say that we wouldn’t bother them if they give us permission to translate and publish their journals, without going into the number of pages involved. This might include their right to reproduce all of the journals published by AIP.
Marks reported that the AIP Data Tagging proposal, to develop a model for identifying data in a physics article published in an AIP journal and to attach that to the abstract, has been revised downward and that NSF has indicated that they will fund it in the order of $30,000. This will permit us to get started on developing a scheme.
The Engineering Index proposal, to develop a scheme to make our computer data compatible with theirs, is pretty much as we submitted it and it looks as though it will go through.
Potential for an Index Journal Containing Abstracts from AIP and Society Journals
Marks introduced the proposal for an index journal containing abstracts. (A 3-page memorandum by Rita Lerner, dated January 31, 1974, was distributed and a copy is attached here as Exhibit D.) The proposal is to photocompose all of the abstracts from AIP and Society journals and make them available as a quarterly index journal. Since we have all the data in our data base, it would be a by-produce of our journal production. At the end of the year there will be a subject index and an author index. We would also offer the microfilm update that goes with it. Marks is expecting about 100 member and 700 nonmember orders. “Physics Abstracts” only goes to about 1,000 libraries in the United States. The primary motivation is to produce a product that would be useful not only to librarians but to individual members. The member price will be $30.00 and the nonmember price $95.00.
Some questions were raised as to whether most libraries would pick this up. Marks pointed out that this product could easily be terminated if marketing conditions do not justify our optimism. It was pointed out that about half the promotion money would be spent before it was decided to turn off the project.
A motion was made and seconded to proceed with the publication of CURRENT PHYSICS INDEX. It was passed with one member (Jossem) dissenting. The motion reads:
MOVED that AIP proceed with the publication of CURRENT PHYSICS INDEX, as described.
With this change the following motion to approve the minutes was passed:
MOVED that the minutes of the February 6, 1974, meeting of the Executive Committee be approved as amended.
Patent Application on Computer Keyboard and Encoding System
Marks reported that application was filed on computer keyboarding and encoding systems for photocomposition of scientific text. Earlier it was hoped to get the signatures of J. R. Roesser and others who helped develop the scheme while they were APS employees. When it became clear that Roesser and others involved were not going to sign a suitable agreement with us, we filed the application without their signatures.
Amicus Curiae Brief in Williams & Wilkins Appeal
Koch proposed that the Executive Committee approve the submission of the Amicus Curiae brief to the Supreme Court (copy of supplement attached as Exhibit E). This is in support of an appeal by Williams & Wilkins following a U.S. Court of Appeals decision in favor of the National Library of Medicine on their copying and distributing published material without the permission of the publisher. AIP had, along with the American Chemical Society and other societies, previously filed an Amicus brief in support of the Williams & Wilkins position as filed in the Court of Claims which yielded favorable action for Williams & Wilkins. (This AIP action is recorded in Koch’s memorandum of September 13, 1973, on copyright negotiations which was sent to secretaries of Societies for which AIP publishes journals. Information on the same subject was distributed to the Executive Committee in connection with the June 29, 1973, meeting of that Committee.)
The resulting discussion brought out the following points: The Societies and the Institute should be very careful to establish clear and strong copyright to all material they published. Nevertheless, since we are relying heavily on publication charges, which are generally provided from Government funds, it would be unwise to take a position, as suggested in the proposed brief, that would put AIP in the position of suing a Government agency to obtain redress for copyright infringement.
4. General Matters
Formation of Advisory Committees on Society Finances and on Publishing Policy
Koch proposed the establishment of these two committees, to be advisory to AIP management. At the time of the Governing Board meeting in March, if the Board wishes, they can be made advisory to the Board instead. (He distributed a document entitled “Formation of Advisory Committees on Society Finances and on Publishing Policy”, copy attached as Exhibit F.) This may not require formal action but comments are welcome. The first committee would be primarily to look at AIP operations, but it would also probably look at their relation to Society finances as well.
We could try to arrange a meeting of the Committee on Publishing Policy in time to have a report from them at the Governing Board meeting in March.
Crane suggested that the minutes record that this was reviewed by the Executive Committee and there was no objection. Burton suggested that in the membership of the Finance Committee, the wording be changed from “Treasurers” to “Financial Representatives” to provide greater flexibility.
Data Analyses to be Supported by APS
Slack pointed out that at an earlier meeting of this Committee plans for the Placement Register were discussed. A proposal was made to APS for $15,000 to make possible the continuation of the capability of continuing a Register. Regardless of frequency, one would still have to keep track of people. At the APS Council meeting on February 3, 1974, this was approved as proposed. It will include further analysis of the employment, salaries, field interchanges by age, and perhaps minority groupings of physicists. Results of the first analysis of the Register statistical data will be incorporated in an article by R. W. Sears which will appear in the April issue of PHYSICS TODAY. Slack has been told that NRC data are about to come off the computer and that NRC plans to coordinate these data with ours. He urged W. C. Kelly of NRC to think about whether or not the Societies are going to be able to continue getting data to coordinate.
Request for Society of Rheology Directory
Slack reported that, upon the request of the Society of Rheology, we furnished them with a plan for producing a membership directory.
5. Plans for Next Meeting of Executive Committee and Governing Board
Koch reported on preliminary plans for an evening session on Friday, March 22, and a full day meeting of the Board on Saturday, March 23, 1974. It will be structured so as to provide opportunity for active involvement of non-staff members. Von Simson will be asked to give a report on the subscription fulfillment system and A. A. Strassenburg will give a response. Marks is to give a description of the heads composition operation and J. A. Burton will give a response to that. The program would include reports on long-range plans for AIP. A detailed discussion of the copyright question, organized by the Publishing Policy Committee, could also be included. The Executive Committee would meet on the afternoon of Friday, March 22.
There were no objections to the above program.
6. Encyclopedia of Physics
Marks reported on a discussion with Milo Dowden, who used to be on the AIP staff and now has a publishing company. This company has a project in which they would like to include a one-volume encyclopedia of physics designed for a general audience. AIP is being asked to provide part-time services of Rita Lerner. They have already secured the part-time services of George Trigg of APS. Lerner and Trigg would line up authors for the contributing articles to the volume which would sell for about $30, with royalties going to AIP and the two editors. Royalties might be as much as $65,000 total, but more probably about half that. It would require an outlay on our part of about $5,000 for clerical, secretarial and mailing expenses to be recouped from the royalties. There would be a special price for AIP members.
After some discussion on the relative roles of Rita Lerner and George Trigg, it was felt that all author’s royalties, except Trigg’s, should accrue to AIP. The following motion was passed unanimously:
MOVED that the Executive Committee approve going ahead with this proposal and the expenditure of $5,000 mentioned above.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:12 a.m.