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ChemInsight: Enhancing The Value Of ACS Membership

by Howard M. Peters, ACS Director-At-Large
February 12, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 7

I expect ChemInsight will be the first of several new initiatives from ACS designed to offer innovative opportunities for our members to increase both their influence and that of our profession in the community at large.

THIS IS MY THIRD YEAR on the American Chemical Society Board of Directors, and I am pleased to have taken part in the decision to create the ACS Office of New Business Development. The goal of this office is to help the society create value for members and the chemical enterprise beyond the current range of products and services.

I did not need to talk too much to convince my colleagues on the board and staff about the extent to which chemistry is integral to much of the legal practice in the U.S. and abroad and that providing expert services is a growth industry for chemists. As a chemist and attorney specializing in intellectual property law, I am an early registrant of ChemInsight, a new service that aims to promote the expertise of chemical scientists to the legal, accounting, and other professions.

ACS created ChemInsight in response to the growing need for specialized science experts to help attorneys and other professionals deal with increasingly complex cases and situations. Over the past year, ACS Director of New Business Development Raman Venkatesh and his team have done the extensive background work that has led to the new service.

Experts in chemical and allied sciences will be invited to register with ChemInsight. Upon listing, their profiles will be promoted to practicing attorneys, forensic accountants, and management consultants who would be the most likely to call on their expertise. Market research conducted by ACS indicates that science experts earn an average of $300 per hour, with a median engagement fee of nearly $5,000. These engagements would let our members apply their skills to challenging scientific problems beyond their core disciplines.

In December, ChemInsight conducted a pilot test, during which ACS sent letters to a random sample of members inviting them to sign up for the listing service. On the basis of the level of interest and the number of paid applications received, ACS decided to make the service available to all ACS members.

Science experts who are not ACS members will be permitted to register with ChemInsight, although they will pay a significantly higher nonmember listing fee. We hope this fee differential will encourage these nonmember experts to become ACS members. The society has designated a full-time staffer, Thomas M. Smith, to manage this service to deliver value to both our members and the targeted users of the service.

ChemInsight will be fully functional on March 31 and will include a website with online registration and profile-editing capabilities. The website will be exclusively targeted at experts in the chemical and allied sciences, consistent with the society's mission.

In addition, ChemInsight will publish the first ACS National Directory of Experts, which will be sent to more than 60,000 likely users of our members' expertise. ChemInsight also will offer a customized search service to law firms and other organizations seeking services of scientific experts. By active collaboration with outside professionals, ChemInsight hopes to increase the influence and professional growth of ACS members through new opportunities.

BY FOCUSING on chemical and allied sciences, promoting the service actively through print and electronic advertising (including links with, which receives over 12 million visits per year), and offering a comparatively low member listing fee, ACS is fulfilling its commitment to deliver a superior value to members and to give them new opportunities to apply their skills to challenging and rewarding problems outside of their core professions.

I expect ChemInsight will be the first of several new initiatives from ACS designed to offer innovative opportunities for our members to increase both their influence and that of our profession in the community at large. Faced with the prospect of a shrinking chemistry enterprise in the U.S., the future of ACS and the chemical sciences depends on the diversity of our professional engagements and the value we deliver to the broader community by stretching beyond our usual comfort zone.

I encourage you to visit to sign up and be reminded to register with this service when it is launched in March. Feel free to express your comments and suggestions to ACS staff working on the ChemInsight service via e-mail to

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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