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The future of ACS membership

by Brian Mathes, chair, ACS Committee on Membership Affairs
July 23, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 27


A photo of Brian Mathes.
Credit: Tod Martens Photography
Brian Mathes

The American Chemical Society Committee on Membership Affairs (MAC) remains focused on ensuring that our membership stays vibrant, relevant, and useful to chemical scientists and engineers worldwide. Our market tests, research, surveys, panels, simulations, and our members all articulated the need for ACS to offer new membership options to meet the changing needs of our diverse community.

We are thrilled that after nearly 3 years of work, the transformative 2022 schedule of membership was approved by the ACS Council and adopted by the ACS Board of Directors this past spring. This change to our governing documents is a huge stride in our journey to provide a modern membership experience. It positions ACS to cultivate a strong and large community of chemists and allied professionals unsurpassed in vibrancy, scale, and diversity.

Thank you to the countless champions who have partnered, supported, advocated, and challenged us on this journey. I am proud and excited that this transformation will be realized on Jan. 1, 2022.

This change to our governing documents is a huge stride in our journey to provide a modern membership experience. It positions ACS to cultivate a strong and large community of chemists and allied professionals unsurpassed in vibrancy, scale, and diversity

What’s coming next? If you are already a member of ACS, you will be assigned to the Premium Package—which is identical to your current membership offering—on Jan. 1. Your membership experience will remain uninterrupted as your benefits and access remain unchanged.

When your membership is up for renewal in 2022, you will have an opportunity to either remain with the Premium Package or choose the new Standard Package.

The Standard Package is a new membership option launching in 2022. At half the price of the Premium Package, it is an attractive option for members who enjoy staying active in the society but don’t need access to certain benefits like meeting discounts or wider ACS Publications access. This package is only available to existing or prospective members who have a degree, certification, or significant work history in a STEM field or who teach chemical science. Our research has shown that a scaled-back, more affordable package option particularly resonates with professionals who work in industry, work outside the US, or otherwise are not ready to fully commit to all that ACS offers. If you’re in any of these categories, I recommend that you give our new Standard Package a try.

If you opt not to renew, you will automatically transition to associate status with our new Basic Package. The Basic Package is our most transformational new option and allows greater accessibility to the entire global enterprise that we serve. New industries, interests, and innovations are intersecting in greater and more diverse ways, and this no-cost option, with no prerequisites, is our response to the changing landscape of science, scientific pursuit, and globalization. The Basic Package qualifies you as an associate of ACS, and with it you can remain informed via C&EN’s weekly newsletter and access to six C&EN articles a month, along with other content and benefits. We piloted the Basic Package in 2020 by making it an option during the registration process for ACS Webinars, and the pilot was a great success. Based on feedback and overwhelming demand for a no-cost option, we are extremely excited to launch the Basic Package in 2022.

New and returning members will have the option to choose one of these packages within the constraints of their eligibility. Over the next few months, we will share additional information and provide venues to have your questions answered to ensure a smooth transition and positive experience for our entire community.

We have created a comprehensive guide with more information for you to explore at I encourage you to read the resources on ACS Membership Packages for a full breakdown of costs, benefits, packages, and FAQs.

I am also personally hosting two live webinar town halls for additional discussion and Q&As, and I look forward to seeing many of you there. (Registration is required.)

Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 3 p.m. ET: Register at

Thursday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. ET: Register at

If you have any feedback prior to the town hall meetings or you are unable to attend, please do not hesitate to contact me by sending an email to If you prefer to submit feedback anonymously, MAC has a Suggestion Ox inbox available at Submissions are 100% anonymous.

Remember, active members play a unique role in ensuring that ACS remains a vibrant society. I invite you to share stories with your personal network about the value you find in ACS. Your personal connection and experience provide a strong incentive for potential members to join us. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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