February 7, 1932

Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

I. The Governing Board met, in accordance with action at the last meeting, on February 7, 1932, in New York City, at Columbia University at ten a.m.

Present: K.T. Compton, chairman, H.D. Arnold, E.C. Bingham, W.P. Davey, Harvey Fletcher, P.D. Foote, A.S. Hunter, L.A. Jones, D.C. Miller, G.B. Pegram, F.K. Richtmyer, J.T. Tate, and by request, H.A. Barton, Director.

Absent: none.

II. Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of November 21, 1931, was voted.

III. Report of Chairman:

The Chairman reported that he would make a report of the Executive Committee later in the meeting; that he and Mr. Tate had conferred with Messrs. Mason and Jones, officials of the Rockefeller Foundation, who appeared to be pleased with the success of the Physical Review plan of charging $2 a page to the institute with which the author of the paper is connected. On the basis of this report it appeared that the Rockefeller Foundation might be prepared to make an appropriation to the Institute of Physics to underwrite a similar plan for all the journal of the cooperating societies. The Chairman stated that the possibility of financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation for this plan should be kept strictly confidential within the membership of this Board; that whatever action the Foundation might take would be decided within a few weeks.

IV. Report of Secretary:

The Secretary of the Board reported that official notice had been received of the following elections to the Governing Board of the Institute of Physics, the terms beginning January 1932, from

The American Physical Society:

K.T. Compton one year
G.B. Pegram two years
J.T. Tate three years

The Acoustical Society of America:

H.D. Arnold one year
D.C. Miller two years
Harvey Fletcher three years

The Society of Rheology:

President of Society W.P. Davey
Secretary of Society A.S. Hunter
Editor of the Society E.C. Bingham

Since the Council of the Optical Society of America would not meet until the end of February no notice of election was received from that Society and the board members would hold over as follows:

L.A. Jones
P.D. Foote
F.K. Richtmyer

V. Report of Director

Mr. Barton, Director of the Institute, made a report in writing, copy of which is attached to Secretary’s copy of the Minutes, covering the following topics:

  1. Attendance of Director at meetings of the Societies since last meeting of the Board, and favorable reception of the proposals of the Institute;
  2. A letter from H.L. Dodge, President of the American Association of Physics Teachers, expressing desire on part of that Society to cooperate with the other societies in relation to the Institute of Physics;
  3. Publicity and developing cooperation particularly with the science editors of the metropolitan newspapers;
  4. Cooperation in a meeting of the Aviation Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers with an address by Dr. Languir;
  5. Arrangement of lecture by Dr. Henry Norris Russell at the Cambridge meeting of the Physical and Optical Societies;
  6. Work on drafting constitution; and
  7. Consultation on editorial mechanics and publication in single office.

VI. Report of Adviser on Publications:

Mr. Tate reported a plan worked out with the Director and approved by the Executive Committee to open the office of the Institute in New York City possibly at or near Columbia University by April 1, 1932, equipped to handle the editorial mechanics of publication and to transfer this work for the publications of the American Physical Society; to offer to the other societies the same facilities if and when they may wish to transfer the editorial mechanics to this central office. The plan contemplates no change in present contracts with printers or in the format of journals for the remainder of the year 1932. It is the fundamental theory of this arrangement that the Institute will not expect to undertake any work for the societies unless it can do the work at a cost less than or not greater than the same work now costs the societies. This office of the Institute will undertake to render all editorial services except that requiring the scientific decision of the editors of the publications. It will also undertake the business management as subscription lists, the sale of back numbers, the handling of reprints, the advertising under appropriate arrangement with the Society concerned, and the accounting. It is expected that the office will also be in a position to undertake such other work in connection with address lists and the mailing of notices, bills, etc., as may be desired for the secretaries and treasurers of the societies.

In response to questions Mr. Tate discussed the probable savings to be made if all the publications of the societies can be handled together in making the printing contract, and if the format of the publications can be made as economical as the present format of the Physical Review.

From recent estimates of prices it appeared that the following savings might be expected on these two items:


American Physical Society

1/2 saving 10% $4500

Optical Society of America

Based 1931 $14,374.50
New Plan $10,400.00 – saving $4000

Acoustical Society of America

Based 1931 $4596.26
New Plan $2500.00 – saving $2000

Society of Rheology

Based 1931 $3401.22
New Plan $2150.00 – saving $1250

Whole saving – new plan – $11,750

Cost of service during transition period would be $2500. Saving will be in cost of printing, charges, paper, composition, one contract, etc.

In response to the question as to whether the estimated saving of $11,750 would be due mainly to consolidation of printing contract or to changes in the format, etc., in the journals, Mr. Tate replied that the saving would be due mainly to the larger contract; that the Physical Review could make no saving on format; that the other journals could save partly on printing contract and partly on change of format, etc. After discussion, the Chairman, Mr. Tate and Mr. Richtmyer were appointed a committee to draw up a statement with respect to publication proposal of the Institute to be presented to the Council of each society. The Board adjourned at 12:45 p.m. to meet again after luncheon.

The Board reconvened at 2:30 p.m.

VII. Report of Executive Committee:

The Secretary was asked to report for the Executive Committee on a draft of the Constitution and By-Laws for the Institute. After some remarks on the obvious desirability of having the Institute of Physics legally incorporated and the bearing of this upon the wording of a Constitution and By-laws. The draft of the Constitution and By-Laws as approved by the Executive Committee at its meeting of January 27th was laid before the Board. This draft was discussed section by section and a number of changes ofphrasing and certain important modifications were made as follows:

  1. by unanimous vote the proposal of the Executive Committee to include the American Association of Physics Teachers was approved;

  2. lt was voted to include the following section under "Committees":

    ‘The Governing Board shall appoint an Executive Committee from the membership of the Governing Board which shall be charged with the conduct of such business as may be assigned to it by the Governing Board and shall be authorized to act for the Governing Board in the interim between meetings to such extent as the Board may by resolution or By-Laws authorize.’

The draft of the Constitution and By-Laws was then approved for submission to the Founder Societies subject to changes as may be necessary to conform to the legal requirements of incorporation as a membership corporation.

The Secretary of the Board was instructed to study the question of incorporation and to report through the Executive Committee.

A copy of the draft of the Constitution is attached to the Secretary’s copy of the Minutes.

VIII. Journal of Physical Chemistry:

The Chairman requested the Director to report on the suggestion that had come to the Institute that the Journal of Physical Chemistry might become connected with the Institute of Physics.

It was voted unanimously:

That it is the sense of the Board that it would be appropriate for one section of the publications of the Institute to be devoted to chemical physics, and that in this connection the Board will be interested in learning of whatever proposal (if any) the management of the Journal of Physical Chemistry may wish to make.

IX. Report of Committee on Abstracts Journal:

Mr. Pegram for the Committee on Abstracts Journal read a report, copy of which is attached, and sheets showing estimates of Mr. Tate as to costs were distributed.

The report stated the conclusion of the Committee that a satisfactory abstracts journal would differ from Science Abstracts “A” in the following respects:

  1. It should abstract 50% more articles.
  2. Its subject index should contain 100% more entries.
  3. The abstracts should lag not more than zero to two months behind the articles abstracted instead of from four to ten months.

There were submitted as part of the report estimates of cost of such publication and three possible plans of financing:

  1. Charge subscription rate of $25.00 possibly 1000 individuals and libraries would subscribe and the journal would be self supporting.

  2. Offer a preferred rate of $10.00 to certain individuals and $12.00 to general public.

    Perhaps 1000 would subscribe at $12.00

    perhaps 1000 would subscribe at $10.00

    A subvention of $3,000 a year would be needed.

  3. Continue present plan.

    $3.50 to American Physical Society, Institution of Electrical Engineers and Physical Society of London $12,250
    $9.00 to public $5,000
      total $17,250

    A subvention of $11,000 a year would be needed.

In the discussion of the report the Board members from the Acoustical Society stated that that Society would like very much to have available the section of the abstracts journal devoted to acoustics which led to a general discussion of the desirability of having the abstracts available in sections. It was agreed that international cooperation in an abstracts journal is important and it was stated in this connection that the Rockefeller Foundation has for a long time been interested in the development of international cooperation in the abstracting of scientific publications. An informal poll was taken of the members of the Board on the question of the relative importance of the three proposed improvements in the abstracts journal, namely completeness, indexing and promptness, which resulted as follows:

  First Second Third
Indexing 4 9 0
Promptness 3 3 7
Completeness 5 1 6
First Second Third
Davey Fletcher  
Tate Arnold  
Barton Miller  
Jones Compton  
First Second Third
Arnold Tate Fletcher
Compton Barton Davey
Pegram Jones Miller
First Second Third
Fletcher Davey Arnold
Miller   Tate
Foote   Barton
Richtmyer   Compton
Bingham   Pegram
Hunter   Jones

X. Report from Sub-Committee

The committee made a draft of a report which was approved as the basis for a statement to the several Societies about the plan of publication through the Institute. The Chairman was authorized to put the statement in final form for placing before the councils of the Founder Societies.

The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board:

That it is the sense of the Board that the Administrative Staff be authorized to proceed with:

  1. The organization of a central office for the Institute;
  2. Negotiations with the Societies toward assembling the business of their journals in the central office;
  3. The actual assembly; and
  4. Operations necessary to the conduct of the business until the end of the year.

XI. Re Association of Scientific Apparatus Makers of America:

Mr. Richtmyer brought up for discussion the situation with respect to the Association of Scientific Apparatus Makers of America and the connection of this Association with the Optical Society of America in the support of the Review of Scientific Instruments.

On motion of Mr. Davey it was voted:

To propose to the Association of Scientific Apparatus Makers of America that it become, provided the Constitution is adopted as approved, a society associated with the Institute.

On motion it was voted:

That a letter be sent by the Chairman to the President of the Association of Scientific Apparatus Makers of American and that Mr. Richtmyer, and if possible also the Chairman, be requested to have a conference with the President and if possible other representatives of the Association of Scientific Apparatus Makers of America.

XII.The American Association of Physics Teachers:

The Secretary was instructed to communicate with the American Association of Physics Teachers and send copy of the proposed Constitution and By-Laws of the Institute to that Association for its consideration.

XIII. Miscellaneous Business:

The Chairman in summing up some of the matters before the Board referred to two items as needing immediate attention:

  1. Office space for the Institute which in accordance with the sense of the Board expressed in discussion should preferably be centrally located in the Borough of Manhattan; and
  2. Statement to be prepared to explain fully to the Societies the nature of the proposed centralized publication office and the program which the Societies will be called upon to consider.

It was voted that the next meeting should be held in New York City on Saturday, May 14, 1932.

The Board adjourned at 7:30 p.m.