Free Content, Free the Science

ECS at 115
We are fast approaching the exact date of our 115th anniversary. On April 2, 1902, the American Electrochemical Society (as ECS was called in the beginning) held its first meeting in Philadelphia. In the transactions of the first meeting, President Joseph Richard’s wrote:

Such is the force, the necessary condition, which has brought into existence The American Electrochemical Society… being, therefore, a necessity, a pressing need, its formation was inevitable… The results having justified the insight of the projectors of the society, the first meeting has been an enthusiastic success, the organization now exists, its future assured of usefulness. With confidence we stand out to sea.

Today, we feel the same “necessary condition” and “pressing need” for inevitable change. This time, however, our goal is to change our publishing business model to completely open the ECS Digital Library while maintaining our high standards of peer review and adapting new technologies and principles related to open science.

We believe that we have an imperative to implement Free the Science, both from a research standpoint—our sciences have broad implications for human and environmental sustainability—and from a scholarly communication perspective—we believe everyone should have the same access to share and acquire knowledge. With open access and open research receiving such a crescendo of support from governments, funders, advocates, and scientists, we believe that ECS can provide leadership in the impending publishing revolution.

ECS is off to a great start. We have created the beginning of a fund that will support our annual publishing needs and 2016 was, by many key quantitative measures, one of our most successful. We published more journal articles (1,726) and posted higher biannual meeting attendance (6,138) than any other year in our history. And the success of marketing our ECS programs has also facilitated the highest usage of the ECS Digital Library ever (3.2M downloads), which goes directly to accomplishing the ECS mission: to disseminate research and advance science and technology.

As we celebrate our 115th anniversary all year, right now I have two requests:

  • Spread the word about Free the Science Week that we are celebrating April 3-9. The ECS Digital Library will be completely open for the week corresponding to our founding meeting and giving the world a preview of what our Free the Science vision will look like in the future.
  • Publish OA with ECS and encourage your colleagues to do the same. You can share this video to explain the importance of our efforts.
  • Support Free the Science by making a gift. Gifts at every level will help us accomplish our open access goal, and donors of $100 or more will be inducted into our new giving societies.

Thank you for your involvement and commitment to another 115 years of excellence, openness, and discovery.

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