FIGURE 7-1 Growth in numbers of professional societies, 1880-1985.

NOTES: Many national professional associations were founded over the period 1880-1985; founding dates are grouped into 20-year periods.

SOURCE: The data are from the Encyclopedia of Associations, 1985 as compiled by Burton R. Clark in The Academic Life: small worlds, different worlds (1987).

A VISION FOR PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES THAT WISH TO FACILITATE IDR

In some ways, professional societies have a clearer overview of trends in their fields than do federal agencies, universities, and funding organizations. The central position of professional societies brings excellent leverage with which to design and promote change, including through publications, policy statements, meetings, committees, lectureships, and awards.

One particularly important function of professional societies relative to IDR—publishing professional journals—is shared with commercial publishers, some of which are large and influential forces in their own right. Because commercial publishers are for-profit ventures, however, their mission differs in an important way from that of the societies, which address the full gamut of concerns and achievements of their scientist and engineer members.



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