Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics
Minutes of Meeting
Members Present: H. Richard Crane – Chairman, Robert T. Beyer, Joseph A. Burton, Laurence W. Fredrick, W. W. Havens, Jr., R. Leonard Jossem, H. William Koch, Jarus W. Quinn
Non-Voting Participants: Isabella Karle (ACA), Kenneth D. Williams (AAPM), Robert S. Marvin (SOR)
AIP Staff Present: H. William Koch, Director; Sidney Millman, Secretary; G. F. Gilbert, Treasurer; Lewis Slack, Assoc. Director for General Activities; Robert H. Marks, Assoc. Director for Publishing; Dorothy M. Lasky, Assistant to the Director
Chairman Crane called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and welcomed the non-voting participants.
Upon motion made and passed without dissent, the minutes of the October 3, 1974, Executive Committee meeting were approved.
2. 1975 Budget
Koch introduced the subject of the 1975 budget by noting that he had scheduled this preliminary discussion in order to get the Committee more involved in the development of the 1975 budget. The discussion is intended to guide the AIP staff in the coming few weeks in their preparation of the budget which will be submitted for more thorough discussion and approval by the Executive Committee at its next meeting scheduled for December 10. He raised some general questions related to the 1975 budget before calling on Gilbert and Marks for the presentation of their respective preliminary reports on the 1974 projections of income and expense and the proposals for the 1975 budget. One such question is whether the staff should plan for a strictly balanced budget or perhaps plan for a substantial net income or contingency fund. This is directly related to such questions as to whether AIP should increase, decrease, or maintain at the present level the programs in Manpower surveys, Placement services, Education, and History. We could also re-examine the distribution of charges incurred by AIP for Society services, as for example, the costs of Placement and press rooms for Society meetings. Still another question is whether AIP should try to augment its income from external sources such as from the broadening of the Corporate Associates program to attract Federal laboratories, book publishers, and university physics departments, or looking for new NSF grants on TV film series, full text composition of journals by computer, data tagging, and survey of membership information needs. He also raised the question whether AIP should actively examine the need for new journals.
Gilbert distributed copies of a document entitled "Statement of Income and Expense/Projection 1974" and noted that it is a highly summarized capsule version showing how we expect to come out at the end of this year. He called particular attention to the fact that our income will exceed that included in the budget due to the realization of $127,000 more in investment income that we had anticipated. Since the budget was prepared, there has been a very dramatic increase in short-term money interest rates. Moreover, because of the late publication of the translation journals, we had the money for a longer time that we might have expected. Pointing to the anticipated expense, he noted that when it became apparent that the projection for secondary services would exceed budget, AIP decided to discontinue CURRENT PHYSICS ADVANCE ABSTRACTS and CURRENT PHYSICS TITLES. The net expense of PHYSICS TODAY is up because of a drop in advertising income. We had originally planned to tap the Publications Reserves because of expected high costs for APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS and the translation journals but it now appears that this will not be necessary. We do plan to use up all of the Physics Abstracts Fund to compensate for the deficit in secondary services. The $126,000 adjusted net income with which we expect to end this year will be transferred to "Accumulated Income" (currently an "Accumulated Deficit") but it may not completely wipe out the deficit. Gilbert considered that our position will not be a healthy one until we can show a real Accumulated Income. The net worth of the Institute, based on the acquisition coat of our building, is something like $1,800,000.
Marks next reported on publication activities relevant to the 1975 budget preparation. As far as one can tell, pages in 1975 will be published at the same level as in 1974. We have been setting an average of 15% as the fraction of unhonored pages which could be published, but this year, because of the large backlog of unhonored pages for the JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS, the Executive Committee had recommended an increase in the publication in this category for that journal. We implemented that and suggest doing the same for 1975, which will turn out to be about 33% of unhonored pages in JMP. This will still give us a delay of nine months for such pages. Publication of unhonored pages in APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS has been running about 10%, in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 15%, in THE JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS 15%, and in THE REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS 15%. The backlog for PHYSICS OF FLUIDS has piled up and we feel 19% would bring it back into line. Therefore, we are proposing that it be 20% for the 1975 budget. One reason for the backlogs in JMP and PF is the large number of articles from overseas.
Gilbert noted that, in many cases, it takes a great deal of correspondence to collect page charges. Some organizations are even asking whether they can make installment payments. The collection of page charges has consistently been a problem with applied journals. The bulk of funds for page charges still comes from Government-sponsored research.
Marks continued his presentation by stating that we had rather significant price increases this year with an average of about 40%. Circulation has held up pretty well. We have built in 15% price increases for 1975 and do not expect circulation to drop off. The cost of paper has increased 100% since 1973. We have also authorized substantial increases in advertising rates on PHYSICS TODAY for 1975 and one purpose of our recently instituted readership surveys is to provide justification to the advertisers for these increased rates. Our nonmember subscription income for PT is of the order of $100,000. Typewriter composition is also going up to $30 a page. For 1976 we plan to do more of it in-house. By comparison, monotype is about $45 per page.
On the translation program, we are going to be paying a royalty to the Soviets and whether we can recoup reverse royalties from them will depend on whether they reproduce our journals or buy several copies and photocopy enough for their needs. The royalty we would pay is 7 1/2% for a total of about $75,000 which would be built into the 1975 prices. This means that, for 1975-76, we are talking about an increase of 20% on top of a 40% increase previously made. Koch observed that we are going to get a royalty check from the Soviets for 1973 and 1974.
Turning to the question of a balanced budget, Burton suggested that we aim for a $100,000 net income in order to establish a Publications Development fund. Crane agreed that a $100,000 net income is something we should budget for if possible. The Executive Committee agreed that the budget should be planned with a net income of about $100,000. This sum is small compared with the total financial operations of the Institute and could be used, if necessary, to meet some unexpected expenses. However, the 1975 budget should include this small net income and expenditures should be carefully monitored.
Koch stated that he sensed that the feeling of the Executive Committee is that AIP should continue to absorb the general costs of Society services such as Placement and Public Relations. Havens added that the incremental costs of these services should certainly be charged to the Societies. Slack estimated that for a three or four-day meeting, such costs would be of the order of $3,000 to $5,000 including staff time. Havens was of the opinion that the staff time should not be included in the incremental expenses. Burton added that more of the general expenses could be charged to archival journals, such things as legal fees, for example.
In connection with the question Koch raised as to whether AIP should actively examine the need for new journals, Burton said that he would like to recommend that this question be considered by the APS Publications Committee. Other Societies may also wish to consider it. The new APS Committee on Applications of Physics might consider the question of special applications journals. On the question of whether AIP should actively seek new grants from NSF, Burton asked whether it is planned to assign AIP staff to develop proposals for such grants. Marks replied that we are not planning to hire staff to develop such proposals but present staff would be used to work on these proposals as the opportunities arise.
On the subject of computer composition of texts of journals, Marks added that none of the firms active in computer photocomposition is focusing on our needs. The market is very limited. If we could shake loose some money from NSF, we would use it to have Automatech Graphics develop programs to do full text composition. It would not be a case of AIP hiring staff, but only providing management and direction of these funds. Such programs would then be available for anyone who wanted to use them.
In a concluding remark Koch observed that he had raised these questions because he wanted to find out from the Executive Committee what its attitudes are. On the matter of seeking outside funding he sensed that if something looks desirable and there is money for it and it does not involve a major acquisition of staff, the Executive Committee would not discourage it. Crane thought that this is really a matter of what the future complexion of the Institute is with regard to projects of this kind and the Board’s continuing direction of long-range planning. He did not think the Executive Committee should determine this. Havens and Beyer agreed and summed it up by stating that additional staff should not be hired to write these proposals up but that a small amount of AIP effort could be put into developing the information.
3. Indirect Cost Rate Proposal to NSF
Gilbert noted that in connection with our grants from NSF, we are required to submit a proposal annually on indirect costs which can be charged to the grants. He called attention to the document mailed to members on November 1 and to a list of rate comparisons which had been distributed with the final agenda. A visit from the NSF auditor is expected and he felt confident we will get approval for the proposed final rate of 17.81% for 1973.
4. Approval of Capital Expenditures for Camera
Marks called attention to his memorandum dated November 13 which had been distributed with the final agenda explaining the need for a larger camera. This would enable the Publications Division to do all the illustrations and eliminate the backlog. This led to the passing of the following motion:
MOVED that the purchase of the camera and related installation expense as requested by Marks, at a cost of $9,000, be approved.
5. Subscription Fulfillment
Von Simson Report
Gilbert reminded the Committee that Von Simson was called in for a two-day review to determine how the staff was responding to the recommendations contained in his report of February 1, 1974, and that copies of his latest report were sent to members of the Committee on November 1. Von Simson appeared to be quite pleased with the manner in which we have responded and repeated that the most serious problem is with agency orders.
Gilbert reported that we were successful in getting out on time two large cash allocations during October. In addition, the files have been updated for transactions processed through October 31. A complete microfilm run has been completed for October. We are again making cash allocations twice a month during the peak season. Journal mailing lists are on a current basis. We put on the usual number of temporaries and we consider that to be normal compared with 1972.
Nonmember Subscription Handling
Koch noted that we are spending a fair amount of time on the question of nonmember subscription handling. It is very complicated. Money and orders are late coming in from agencies and it is physically impossible to process these stacks of orders. They send their material in on a journal basis rather than on a subscriber basis. Our files are just the reverse. We have been looking at several possible solutions and we do intend to put the agency account number on our Master History Record File. We could then invoice them on a renewal basis. We could get a computer tape from the larger agencies. We are thinking of having a meeting with some of our sister organizations to compare our experiences. Marks added that agencies account for 67% of our nonmember business. Our customers would be very unhappy if we were to refuse to accept agency orders.
6. Activities by the Computer Planning Committee
Koch reported that the subject of acquiring a new computer is undergoing intensive consideration. He read a memorandum on this subject which had been distributed with the final agenda. It is here reproduced as Exhibit A. No action by the Executive Committee was required at this time.
7. Building Leases
Koch observed that consideration of acquiring a new computer led us to raise the question of the location of a new computer. We have been looking at such things as whether the foundation of our present building is adequate to add on two or three floors, or even whether we should tear down our present building and build a larger one. Another possibility is to rent additional space in the Allied Arts building across the street where we now house PHYSICS TODAY and some Manpower Division people. That would take care of the Publications Division people presently located at 800 Second Avenue. That lease is up in October 1976.
On the related question of moving the publication group from Brookhaven to Stony Brook, we are waiting for the reaction of the APS Publications Committee. We could justify having a typewriter production center apart from our New York City location.
8. Administration of Visiting Physicists Program for APS
Millman remarked that this topic is essentially a clarification of his status. From March to October of this year he served as Acting Secretary of AIP, while working on the Visiting Physicists Program for APS. When he became Secretary of AIP in October, he ceased being on the APS payroll. However, as a member of the APS Committee on Education, he continues to administer their Visiting Physicists Program. Each month he reports to Gilbert how many days he has spent on this program and AIP bills APS for his salary for those days.
9. Revised Statement About AIP Mission
Koch called attention to an excerpt from "Highlights of 1974" which had been distributed with the preliminary agenda. The most significant change is in the opening statement describing AIP as “… a membership corporation of leading societies in the fields of physics and astronomy…” rather than a federation. If the Executive Committee approves, this wording will be put on the masthead of PHYSICS TODAY and will be used wherever it has traditionally appeared. Havens suggested amending the wording slightly to read: "AIP is a membership corporation. Its members are…” With this change, the following motion was passed:
MOVED that, instead of using the phrase “AIP is a federation…”, the following statement shall be used henceforth when referring to the AIP mission: "The American Institute of Physics was founded in 1931. It is chartered as a membership corporation with leading societies in the fields of physics and astronomy as members. The Institute combines into one operating agency those functions which can best be done by the societies jointly. Its purpose is the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge…”
10. Proposal for New Dues Category for Corporate Associates
Lasky reported that she has been trying to look for ways of increasing the number of our Corporate Associates. AIP has had the same sliding dues scale, with a minimum of $500, since 1962 when we had 187 Corporate Associates. Today we have only 85, perhaps reflecting the economic situation. In trying to build an additional prospect list she was shocked to find out how few are the companies who do employ physicists and how few physicists there are in each company. There are close to 900 companies employing fewer than five physicists. There are only three companies in the U.S. who employ more than 300 physicists. Those that employ large numbers of physicists and are not now Corporate Associates probably never will be. We should probably go after the large companies with a small number of physicists, or the small companies. We could perhaps attract also book publishers in physics and companies which sell equipment to the physics community by offering them a lower dues scale. We might have a category of 0-4 physicists and charge annual dues of $250, for which we would give them only PHYSICS TODAY and no other journals. H. I. Fusfeld, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Corporate Associates, has suggested we try it and comments from the Executive Committee would be welcome.
After some brief discussion, the following motion was passed:
MOVED that a new dues scale for Corporate Associates, as described above by Dorothy Lasky, be approved.
11. Membership in International Group of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers
Marks explained that this is a proposal for AIP to join this international group of 80 profit and nonprofit publishers. He thought it was important for us to be involved in these groups. The cost is about $375 per year. Member organizations are kept abreast of copyrights, pricing, production, and marketing in the commercial sector. All the large publishers belong. This is the only organization that includes both commercial and nonprofit organizations. Headquarters are in Holland but meetings are held at various places. The following motion was passed:
MOVED that AIP be encouraged to become a member of the International Group of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers.
12. Allocation of Royalties from Russian and Japanese Contracts
Koch reported that he has received a cablegram from the Soviets saying that they have signed the agreement for translation and reproduction of Soviet and American physics journals for 1973 and 1974 (signed copy subsequently received) and are sending us their check for about $134,000 in payment of royalties. In anticipation, he proposed that there be an AIP commission of 25% across the board, the same as we get for handling advertising and exhibits. For the Optical Society it is proposed that this commission rate be one-half of that amount (12 1/2%) since OSA is the only Society which has been involved directly in the translation of the two Russian journals in their field. In reply to a question, Koch said it is his intention to ask for a commission of similar size for 1975 and observed that the next negotiation is going to be with an entirely different group and will take just as much time and effort. He added that we would advise the Societies of any arrangement agreed upon here and, if they do not like it, they can appeal to the Executive Committee. The following motion was passed:
MOVED that the proposed commission rate to AIP on royalties to be received from the Soviets be 25% generally, except for a rate of 12 ½% on OSA journals.
13. Preferential Rates to Society Journals for all Members
Koch called attention to a memorandum on this subject which had been distributed with the final agenda and proposed that AIP establish preferential rates for Society journals sold to members of other Member Societies. Specifically the rate for a journal would be the sum of the member rate plus member dues, so that it would not cost more than joining that Society. Havens indicated that he would want to think about this proposal before formally acting on it. Koch noted that he just wanted to bring this to the attention of the Societies and have them consider it before we print the next year’s brochure on subscription rates.
14. Future Meetings
The next meeting of the Executive Committee is scheduled for December 10 at the Institute, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Koch raised the question whether there should be a meeting of the Executive Committee in January at the time of the APS-AAPT joint meeting in Anaheim. Crane noted that, if we have the budget out of the way in December, we could skip January. It was agreed to postpone this decision until the December Executive Committee meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.