Ok, I’m now officially a huge fan of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I was recently on the receiving end of an interesting email from them offering a sort of free semi-membership since I published an article in one of their journals not too long ago. Most researchers in America are probably familiar with the RSC only through the journals they publish (Chemical Communications, Chemical Science, and Chemical Society Reviews being the big ones, but there are plenty others). They are roughly the UK’s equivalent of our American Chemical Society, organizing conferences, publishing journals, etc.
The email offered a free e-membership, which included “access to one of over 70 RSC subject-based groups allowing to engage with fellow chemists globally, …digital monthly access to Chemisty World [the general RSC chemistry publication…kind of like C&E News as far as I can tell], …and being kept informed about specialist events and conferences”.
Color me impressed! Go RSC! This is one of those things that every scientific publication should advocate. Is it a lot? Not really. I’m sure I could engage with international chemists by email just fine, and I’d bet good money I could access Chemistry World through the library. But the impressive part, to me, is pushing more open access, technologically connected science access. Basically a message of “Contribute to our network, get official access to a bunch of our stuff”. Which makes every kind of sense is really pretty awesome.
The sad thing is I haven’t heard of any other science organizations doing this sort of thing (speaking only for chemistry and materials science groups, myself). I don’t know if this is something ACS does as well. I know I’ve never received a similar email offering semi-membership for publishing in an ACS journal. But that may be because I’ve already been an ACS member for the duration of my publishing career so far. I’m really curious now and sent them an email to find out, so we’ll see.
EDIT 5 NOV. 2012: Got a response from ACS.
“At this time, ACS does not have any such benefits for non-ACS members that publish in ACS journals.”
And there ya go. Need to get with the times, guys.