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ACS Continues To Build Foundations For Success

by Madeleine Jacobs
February 24, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 8

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Photo of ACS CEO Madeleine Jacobs.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

When I began my tenure as ACS executive director and chief executive officer on Jan. 1, 2004, I was thrilled and excited, knowing the challenges that lay ahead. Today, I am just as excited as I was then to be working with the ACS Board of Directors, staff, and members on fulfilling the vision and mission of ACS.

The challenges have been numerous. The uneven recovery of the global economy since the Great Recession and a divided federal government continue to seriously affect our members. Job growth has remained sluggish, and industrial layoffs in chemistry-related sectors continue. ACS members who depend on federal grants to conduct research have faced high hurdles in getting new or renewed grants. Many of the challenges facing the U.S. have also faced other developed as well as emerging nations.

With this difficult environment as a backdrop, ACS again made a concerted effort to increase our membership in 2013. New member programs were designed and introduced, and enhanced marketing efforts were tailored to promote the value of ACS membership to each demographic group. Thanks to such efforts, ACS ended the year with 161,140 members, which was a drop of just 1.3% from the end of 2012. ACS remains the world’s largest scientific society, and I am confident that we have built an important foundation for growing our membership in the future.

But we need your help: Please tell your colleagues who aren’t members why ACS is your professional home (see We have information to assist you at (click on Membership & Networks). And as a token of appreciation when you successfully recruit a new member, you will receive a periodic table of the elements ACS blanket. You can also give a colleague the gift of ACS membership through an eGift card (

I hope you will also tell your colleagues about some of the many other activities that ACS carries out. I invite you to read my report to the ACS membership, “2013 Highlights of ACS Achievements.” You will find it at

Among our many accomplishments in 2013 are these:

◾ Chemical Abstracts Service is building on its status as the world authority for chemical information. A record number of articles and patents were indexed and added to the CAS databases. In addition, a record number of single- and multi­step reactions were added and are available in SciFinder, the leading research tool in chemistry. The CAS Registry grew to more than 78.6 million small molecules by year-end, and CAS sustained industry-leading timeliness for providing access to indexed chemistry in patent applications from all major patent offices.

◾ ACS Publications continues to expand its information offerings and published more than 39,000 articles across its journals portfolio, 2.5% more than in 2012. Our readers downloaded 83 million articles, and authors worldwide cited ACS journals more than 2.2 million times, an all-time high. ACS ChemWorx—a novel free service for research management—was introduced in March and ended the year with more than 25,000 users. The PROSE Awards of the Association of American Publishers selected ACS ChemWorx as the Best App/eProduct. And ACS Synthetic Biology was recognized as best new journal.

◾ The ACS executive leadership team concluded a major study on ACS’s global presence for the ACS Board of Directors, which adopted the study’s recommendations in December. This study will position ACS extremely well for enhancing its global presence in all areas.

◾ Several new member benefits were launched, including ACS Presentations on Demand and the ACS Member SciFinder Benefit.

◾ The society held two national meetings, which combined attracted more than 19,000 papers and 26,000 participants. A special “Fueled by ACS” campaign to help defer fuel costs for graduate students who traveled by car pool to the fall meeting in Indianapolis won ACS top awards in the 2013 Association TRENDS all-media contest.

◾ The Petroleum Research Fund provided more than $18 million to support 198 grants in basic research and advanced education in petroleum and related fields.

◾ The ACS Board of Directors approved establishing the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, which will provide K–12 teachers of chemistry with a professional home and access to specialized resources and the broader ACS community.

◾ The ACS Science & the Congress Project hosted nine valuable policy discussions with congressional staffers and Washington, D.C.-based thought leaders, including the 200th event sponsored by the program since 1995.

◾ ACS ended 2013 with a positive net contribution from operations for the 10th consecutive year. The unaudited year-end results show that ACS generated $15.1 million from core operations, on total revenues of $490.5 million (about the same revenues as 2012). In early March, you can access the society’s audited financial statements at

In summary, 2013 was a good year for ACS; however, there is always more to do. We have new and revamped career services launching later this year, a major upgrade to the ACS website, new journals planned to capture exciting new interdisciplinary areas of chemistry, new workflow options for SciFinder, and a multiyear technology project that will help ACS grow and thrive. Whatever challenges the future may hold, I look forward to them.



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