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Chemistry International
Vol. 24, No. 3
May 2002


Executive Director’s Column

IUPAC and You

IUPAC is a volunteer organization that depends on the skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm of the volunteers who carry out the projects that are its reason for existence. I urge all of the readers of Chemistry International to consider how they can participate in the work of IUPAC. Some of you are now, or have been in the past, active participants in IUPAC; others have never participated in any IUPAC activities. The new, project-based organization of IUPAC’s work makes participation easier.

IUPAC has changed the way it operates to encourage more involvement, but encouragement is all we can do—the rest is up to you.

The previous Commission-based system depended to a great extent on volunteers who were asked to participate by invitation of current members of a group. The new system is, we believe, more open to chemists who are not known to current IUPAC members.

There are two relatively straightforward ways to volunteer. The first is to find an existing project and contact the Task Group chairman for that project. Lists of current projects can be found on the IUPAC Web site. Simply follow the links from the homepage to the Division whose activities interest you and follow the link called Projects. There you will find a list of current projects, as well as descriptions of each project and contact information for the members of the Task Group, including the chairman. Once you find a project in which you are particularly interested, simply send an email to the Task Group chairman (preferably with a copy to the Secretariat) explaining how you feel you can contribute to the work of the project. Since most of the work of Task Groups is done by correspondence, usually by e-mail, anyone should be able to contribute in some way. Sometimes, the Task Group may be seeking additional active participants; in other instances, most of the work must be carried out by a limited number of people, but often comments, suggestions, and reviews of preliminary drafts of documents can be very helpful.

The second way to volunteer is to submit a project proposal for consideration by the appropriate Division Committee or Standing Committee. Complete information on what kinds of projects are suitable for support by IUPAC, as well as information on the project approval system and guidance on how to submit a project, can be found on the Web site. I urge all of you to consider submitting projects that will contribute to standardization in terminology, nomenclature, and symbols; to evaluated data; and to methods and other areas of IUPAC interest.

You can also contribute to IUPAC’s mission by helping to disseminate the results of IUPAC’s work. Urge your national chemical magazines and specialized journals to publish IUPAC recommendations so that scientists around the world can be encouraged to use them in their work. Ask your library at work to subscribe to IUPAC’s Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry so that you and your colleagues have access to new reports and recommendations. To be fully informed on new developments from IUPAC, I urge all those who have not yet subscribed to our e-newsletter to visit the Web site and register. The process is simple and practically painless!

Subscribe now!

We are also interested in contributions to Chemistry International. These can take the form of letters to the editor, news items regarding activities in your country that might be of interest to our international readers, or longer articles on subjects of interest to the worldwide community of chemists. Brief reviews of Web sites and books are also welcome. I especially urge IUPAC Task Groups to provide progress reports on their work so that others can contribute to the success of your project. As always, the editor has the right to decide what is suitable for publication.

The future success of IUPAC depends, as has its past success, on the work of dedicated volunteers. IUPAC has changed the way it operates to encourage more involvement, but encouragement is all we can do—the rest is up to you. Put the "You" in IUPAC by volunteering, by spreading the word about IUPAC to your colleagues, and by applying IUPAC’s recommendations in your scientific work.

John W. Jost is executive director of IUPAC


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