AAAS and Sigma Xi Forge Alliance to Promote and Advance Science

Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, and Jamie Vernon, executive director and CEO of Sigma Xi, enter into a partnership to advance the scientific enterprise.  | Stephen Waldron/AAAS

Two leading broad-based scientific organizations have launched a collaboration to extend the global pair’s ability to advance, enhance and safeguard the scientific enterprise for both individual scientists and the role of science in society.

Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society with members in more than 91 countries, and Jamie Vernon, executive director and CEO of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society with more than 500 chapters in North America and around the globe, signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday laying out the terms of the alliance during a meeting at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The agreement commits the two organization’s “to promote, protect and improve all aspects of science, assuring the highest standards of ethical behavior and research quality.” The accord seeks to offer members of each organization broader enrichment opportunities and new avenues for scientists to participate in the partnering organization’s activities as well as potential joint activities in outreach and advocacy.

Rush Holt, right, signs the one-year agreement between the two broad-based scientific organizations. | Stephen Waldron/AAAS

“Expanding scientific knowledge and protecting the ethical practice of science could find no better partnership – together AAAS and Sigma Xi will further enrich opportunities for members in and outside the scientific community and deepen our commitment to advance science and engineering,” said Holt, who also serves as the executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

As part of the collaboration, the two groups pledge to look for ways to participate in and contribute to each other programs and expand activities to promote policy issues related to scientific “ethics, education, the perception of science and evidence-based decision-making and investment in science,” Vernon said.

The organizations also agreed to explore collaborative publishing opportunities including potential scientific surveys and joint communications. AAAS publishes Science and five other peer-reviewed journals, while Sigma Xi publishes American Scientist and the Chronicle of The New Researcher, an online, open access journal.

Jamie Vernon, right, formalizes the alliance between Sigma Xi and AAAS. | Stephen Waldron/AAAS

The two organizations have been in discussions about forging an alliance over the past year in an effort to leverage each organization’s programs, activities, publications, communications and the talents of each group’s membership, the accord says.

While many scientists join professional organizations that match their discipline, increasingly scientists are expected to step into the public arena to support the scientific process and the use of science in policymaking – a reality that underscores the importance of the collaboration, Holt and Vernon said.

“Each scientist in order to be fully engaged in the scientific community should be, not only involved in their professional disciplines, their societies, they also should be in a general organization that has a significant advocacy and outreach component like AAAS and they should be involved in an organization like Sigma Xi that really focuses on honor and ethics in the conduct of excellent research,” Vernon said.

[Assoicated image: Stephen Waldron/AAAS]