their standing committees, where appropriate. They could award prizes to postdocs in which the role of the mentor might be highlighted. By focusing more attention on postdocs, they can increase the likelihood that advisers, institutions, and funding organizations will spend their own funds to send postdocs to meetings and take other steps to enrich the postdoctoral experience.
Professional societies can also translate their information and perspective into the development of norms regarding the postdoctoral experience. For example, they can suggest appropriate skills and standards that should be mastered by postdocs in particular disciplines prior to completion of their postdoctoral experience. They can, on the basis of their own or others' surveys and disciplinary knowledge, suggest standards for compensation, benefits, evaluations, or other practices that now vary widely.
Some disciplinary societies are active in collecting and analyzing information about the education, employment, compensation, distribution, trends, and other features of disciplinary life. This information can be useful for postdocs in planning their careers if it is made easily available (e.g., on the society's web site) and publicized in journals. Both postdocs and advisers can benefit from more information about new fields, subfields, and “hot” sectors of employment, both within and outside academia.