ACS Committee on Ethics

The governance of the American Chemical Society is complex, as befits a large member institution, but nowhere is its complexity better exemplified than through its committee structure. There are five different types of committees, and the following is a brief description of their purpose and composition; for more information, please refer to the governing documents of the Society ( charter/bulletin-5.pdf?_ga=1.211259733.1512377879.1423839481).

  • Council Committees (Council Policy Committee, Committee on Nominations and Elections, Committee on Committees): elected committees of the Council, with members elected by and from the body of Councilors;
  • Standing Committees of the Council (Committee on Membership Affairs, Committee on Meetings and Expositions, Committee on Divisional Activities, Committee on Local Section Activities, Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, Committee on Constitution and Bylaws): other Council committees, whose members are councilors appointed by the President of the Society, with input from the Committee on Committees;
  • Society Committees (Society Committee on Education, Society Committee on Budget and Finance): special committees whose members are councilors and non-councilors appointed by the president of the Society, with input from the Committee on Committees;
  • Joint Board-Council Committees (examples include the Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications, the Joint Board-Council Committee on Chemical Abstracts, Service, and the Committee on Professional Training): committees developed to serve a specific purpose, whose members may be any member of the Society and are jointly appointed by the president of the Society and the chair of the Board, with input from the Committee on Committees;
  • Other Committees of the Council: These committees are also established to serve a particular purpose and are evaluated by the Committee on Committees. Their members, who may be any member of the Society, are appointed solely by the president of the Society, with input from the Committee on Committees.

The Committee on Ethics (ETHX) is an “Other Committee of the Council.” Its charge is as follows:

To coordinate the ethics-related activities of the Society, serve as an educational resource and clearinghouse, but not as an adjudication body, for ACS members seeking guidance on ethics issues; raise awareness of ethics issues through meeting programming and columns/editorials; review recognition opportunities for acknowledging ethical behavior; and to develop and oversee such other ethics-related activities as will serve ACS members and promote the Society's standards of ethical conduct within the profession of chemistry and its related disciplines.

CINF enjoys dual representation on this committee; Leah McEwen is a full member, and Judith Currano is a new associate member. Much of the work of the committee is done in its subcommittees, and ETHX has three subcommittees, devoted to Communication and Awareness, Education and Materials, and Programming and Screening.

ETHX is particularly interested in cosponsoring programming at ACS National Meetings focused on ethical issues; as a result, it will be cosponsoring a symposium on the ethics of authorship and inventorship with CINF at the San Francisco meeting in the spring of 2017. While some of the talks will be invited, we will also post a general call for papers, so, please keep an eye open for it!

Judith N. Currano
University of Pennsylvania