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ACRL Representative Report

Unit Representative to:American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Representative Name:Alison S. Ricker

Representative Email:

Report period: July 2013- June 2014

Background Information:

Founded in 1848, AAAS is affiliated with 258 societies (including ALA) and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals across vastly divergent fields of study and enterprise. The AAAS seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people." This mission is very effectively pursued through its publications, diplomacy, professional workshops, meetings and career support, advocacy and public outreach to increase scientific literacy worldwide, support for professional scientists and objective, authoritative communication with news outlets. Its flagship publication Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. Major program areas are outlined at including R&D Budget and Policy, the intersection of science, ethics and religion, “invention ambassadors,” and policy fellowships.

Major Activities of the Unit:

  • Annual Meeting, February 13-17, 2014. The 2014 Annual Meeting theme—Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation—focused on finding sustainable solutions through inclusive, international, and interdisciplinary efforts that are most useful to society and enhance economic growth. Remarkable plenary lectures were open to the public and can be viewed online their reach worldwide.
  • AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, May 1-2, 2014. The annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy is the “conference for people interested in public policy issues facing the science, engineering, and higher education communities.” At this year’s forum, White House counselor John Podesta discussed ways to capitalize on the opportunities of the big-data revolution while preserving values including privacy and non-discrimination. He noted, "Our commitment to innovation, our technological and scientific know-how, our deep commitment to the values of privacy and fairness and non-discrimination and self-determination will help us harness the benefits of the big-data revolution and encourage the free-flow of information while also protecting privacy,"
  • Science for Kids! continued its mission to increase scientific understanding and enthusiasm for science investigation in youth.

Implications for ACRL:

  • Science Librarians sponsored at AAAS Annual Meeting. A primary responsibility for the ALA Liaison to AAAS has been organizing the group of librarians (30 individuals) who are provided with a sponsored (i.e., free) registration to the AAAS meeting. This was achieved primarily by posting messages to STS-L, and from contacts between AAAS Publishing Division staff with librarians at various functions.
  • Librarian session during AAAS Annual Meeting. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 the session for sponsored librarians was an opportunity for librarians to make substantive presentations related to the AAAS Meeting theme. Our session in 2014 included these talks:
    "Climate Action Plan Challenge for Librarians: Supporting sound science to manage climate impacts." Fred Stoss, Associate Librarian, University of Buffalo; Subject Librarian for Biology, Ecology, Geology and Mathematics.
    "Together We Stand, Divided We Fall: Facing the problem of climate change by connecting researchers through knowledge management." Manuel De la Cruz Gutierrez, Research and Knowledge Management Librarian, University of Pennsylvania.
    "Connections in Education and Outreach by Communicating Effectively." Kiyomi Deards, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Love Library; Subject Librarian for Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics and Astronomy.
  • Education Enhancement. Project 2061 is a long-term research and development initiative focused on improving science education so that all Americans can become literate in science, mathematics, and technology. Collaboration with science librarians is a natural fit in many of the activities offered as part of Project 2061.

Upcoming Activities:

  • 2015 Annual AAAS Meeting: San Jose, CA, February 12-16. “Innovations, Information, and Imaging.” AAAS Publisher Relations will again sponsor attendance by librarians. Librarians are welcome to submit proposals for poster sessions, due in October 2014. The session proposal deadline has passed; at least one science librarian intended to develop a proposal for a session devoted to innovations in how information about climate change is presented to the public.
  • Awards. To recognize scientists, journalists, and public servants for significant contributions to science and to the public's understanding of science, AAAS administers fifteen different types of awards. Publicizing these awards on library blogs would be instructive for our academic communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Scott Ricker

Science Librarian

Oberlin College

Oberlin OH 44074

May 22, 2014