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The Global Presence Of The American Chemical Society: Resources & Opportunities

by H.N. Cheng, Chair, International Activities Committee , Wayne E. Jones Jr., Chair, Membership Affairs Committee
August 19, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 33

H.N. Cheng
Credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng
Chair, International Activities Committee
Photo of H. N. Chen, Chair, International Activities Committee, ACS.
Credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng
Chair, International Activities Committee

The American Chemical Society has a long history and unsurpassed reputation as the premier publisher of chemistry-related research. Increasingly, the majority of the papers contributed to its world-class journals are from non-U.S. colleagues. This is not a prediction of the future but is the current reality of our society and our profession.

Wayne E. Jones Jr.
Credit: Courtesy of Wayne E. Jones Jr.
Chair, Membership Affairs Committee
Photo of Wayne E. Jones Jr., Chair, Membership Affairs Committee, ACS.
Credit: Courtesy of Wayne E. Jones Jr.
Chair, Membership Affairs Committee

Both the ACS constitution and mission statement promote international engagement, and the society has embraced this opportunity in ways that extend well beyond publishing.

For example, last year, one in five new ACS members lived outside the U.S., and more than 15% of the entire membership lived in countries other than the U.S. A sixth ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter was chartered in April 2013 in Romania. International chapters are the local organizations of ACS members outside the U.S. The chapters are created through a petition signed by 25 or more local ACS members in cooperation with the chemical society of the native country. The five other chapters are located in Hong Kong, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai, and Thailand.

On an organizational level, ACS initiates and enters into alliances with other national chemical societies, including organizations in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Consistently, 15% of national meeting attendees are international. In addition to the traditional scientific exchange, our meetings facilitate global engagement, collaboration, networking, and joint programs among chemical professionals. Conversely, the community of scientists informs world opinion leaders within the global chemistry enterprise.

ACS on Campus is another opportunity for global networking. More than 30 of this program’s events will be held this year on university campuses in more than a dozen countries to help students, postdocs, and faculty members advance in their careers. Speakers offer instruction in how to get published, how to find a job, how to write a grant proposal, what to expect from the changing employment landscape, and much more. The program also provides opportunities for ACS members and staff to reach out to and engage U.S.-based international students, visiting scholars, and postdocs, who number more than 760,000, with 25% and 13% from China and India, respectively. Many of these students are studying in science, technology, engineering, and math fields where chemistry plays a key role.

The new ACS International Center ( launched last year as a resource for scientific collaboration, joint activities, and cultural enrichment. It is meant to help ACS members gain access to global facilities to collaborate, study, or work outside their home country. A key element of this initiative was finding ways for chemistry professionals anywhere in the world to have a meaningful connection to ACS, its members, and its offerings. For example, the ACS International Center supports international travel and study by providing practical guidance and resources.

ACS provides electronic and mobile content delivery for the convenience of all members, but the ability to read C&EN via mobile device anywhere and at any time is especially beneficial to an international audience or traveler. Recent additions to the member benefit package are also available electronically and outside the laboratory: Members have free access to 25 articles or book chapters from ACS journals, books, or C&EN Archives, while the new SciFinder benefit gives members 25 complimentary SciFinder searches for personal use. In addition, ACS offers weekly webinars that make subject matter experts accessible to everyone; chemists who register in advance also gain online access to the associated question-and-answer sessions.

The ACS Office of International Activities (​tional) provides some benefits specifically for members who live outside the U.S. They include ACS International News, a free bimonthly newsletter about networks, meetings, and events being held throughout the world that are related to the chemical sciences, technology, engineering, and innovation. The office also hosts a reception and a hospitality suite for all international visitors at each national meeting. And it provides information and assistance to those seeking passports, visas, and other travel documents to attend scientific conferences.

For the future, the society is considering plans to host and cosponsor more meetings, technical workshops, training sessions, and chapter events on the global stage. They include ACS ProSpectives in China: Focus on Drug Crystallization, which will be held in Suzhou, China, on Oct. 17–19. Members can obtain notice of other future meetings by subscribing to ACS International News.

How can ACS best cultivate the global community of young scientists and engineers as Chemistry Ambassadors and long-term members of ACS? How can ACS position itself to be more welcoming to chemists, chemical engineers, and chemistry-related professionals with international interests? The volunteer members of the ACS Membership Affairs and International Activities Committees are working to address these questions. But we value your insight and expertise and would welcome your input. Please send your thoughts and suggestions to

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


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