Board & Council Joint Oversight

Policies & Procedures

(As approved by Council on April 22, 2017 and adopted by the Board on April 23, 2017)

Preamble: Note that all provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society are hereby incorporated into these Policies and Procedures by reference. Note also that in the following text, "Society" shall signify the American Physical Society, "Council" and “Board” signifies the Council of Representatives and the Board of Directors of the Society, respectively; "CEO" signifies the Chief Executive Officer of the Society; “EIC” Editor in Chief of the Society; and “Member” signifies Member of the Society.  “Units” signify the Divisions, Topical Groups, Forum, and Sections of the Society.

J1. Amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws (C&BL): A proposed amendment to the C&BL may be introduced by recommendation to the President:

  1. from the Governance Committee;
  2. by an affirmative vote of the Council at a regularly scheduled meeting;
  3. by petition from at least one percent of the total Membership of the Society;
  4. or by the Executive Committees of at least two Units of the Society.

Once a proposed amendment is received by the President, the Governance Committee will review the amendment and transmit its recommendation to the Board for its review and recommendation to the Council for final adoption. A majority vote to recommend and adopt by the Board and Council, respectively, will be required. For these votes, a quorum of two-thirds of the voting members shall apply. Prior to the vote of Council, the recommended revisions shall be made available over a period of 30 days to all Members of the Society for comment.

If the Council does not adopt, the amendment is not enacted. If the amendment is adopted, the complete text of the Constitution and Bylaws including any amendments and the date of its adoption by the Board and Council shall be posted on the APS website within 30 days.

J2. Modifications to the Board, Council, and Joint Oversight Policies and Procedures (P&Ps): A proposed revision to the P&Ps may be introduced by recommendation to the President:

  1. from the Governance Committee;
  2. by an affirmative vote of the Council and/or Board at a regularly scheduled meeting;
  3. by petition from at least one percent of the total Membership of the Society;
  4. or by the Executive Committees of at least two Units of the Society.

Once a proposed revision is received by the President, the Governance Committee will review the revision and transmit its recommendation to the Board for its review and adoption, subject to approval by the Council in the case of the Council or Joint Board and Council Policies & Procedures. A majority vote to adopt and approve by the Board and Council, respectively, will be required. For these votes, a quorum of two-thirds of the voting members shall apply.

In the case of the Board Policies & Procedures, if the Board does not adopt, the revisions are not enacted. In the case of the Council or Joint Board and Council Policies & Procedures, if the Council does not approve the revision or wishes to make substantive changes, the matter is sent for reconciliation to the Board of Directors Executive Committee and Council Steering Committee acting jointly. If the Board of Directors does not adopt or the Council does not approve the reconciled version, the revisions are not enacted. If the revisions are adopted, the complete text of the Constitution and Bylaws including any amendments and the date of its adoption by the Board and Council shall be posted on the APS website within 30 days.

J3. Joint Oversight Committees of the Board and Council:

J3.1 Committee on Scientific Publications: The Committee on Scientific Publications consists of the Editor in Chief, the CEO, the Publisher (who are ex officio, non-voting members) and eight (8) voting members nominated by the Committee on Committees and appointed by the President-Elect to staggered four (4) year terms. The President-Elect appoints a Chair from among these eight (8) members. The Committee shall benefit from the expertise of two (2) non-voting Librarian Consultants appointed by the Publisher to equally staggered four (4) year terms. The Committee meets at least two (2) times each year and makes recommendations to the Board and Council regarding the operating philosophy and general editorial policy of the scientific publications of the Society.

J3.2 Panel on Public Affairs: The Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) consists of a Chair, Chair-Elect, Vice Chair, immediate Past Chair, the Vice President, the Chair of the Physics Policy Committee (PPC), the Congressional Fellow(s) in the second year following the year of service, thirteen (13) members elected by Council to staggered three (3) year terms, (1) industrial physicist APS-member elected by the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics to a three (3) year term, and (1) member elected by the Forum on Physics and Society to a three (3) year term. The candidates for election as members of POPA are selected by the Nominating Committee. The Vice Chair is elected by Council and serves in that office for one (1) year, then as Chair-Elect for one (1) year, then as Chair for one (1) year, and then as Immediate Past Chair for one (1) year. The POPA Steering Committee consists of the Chair, the Chair-Elect, the Vice Chair, the Vice President, the PPC Chair, and at least two (2) additional members selected from among and by the members of POPA. POPA is responsible for making recommendations to the President, the Board, and the Council on public affairs activities of the Society that have been designated by the Board or Council. POPA may initiate new public affairs activities for the Society and may recommend new programs to the Council. POPA shall keep minutes and distribute them to POPA members and to the Council and Board.

J3.3 Physics Policy Committee: The Physics Policy Committee (PPC) consists of the Immediate Past President, who will serve as Chair for a one (1) year term, twelve (12) members, nominated by the PPC, selected and confirmed by the Board Executive Committee (BEC), and appointed by the President-Elect to staggered three (3) year terms, the President-Elect, the Congressional Fellows(s) in the first year following the year of service, and the Chair of POPA. The Chair of the Education Policy Committee, an official subcommittee of the Committee on Education, and the Chair of the Industrial Physics advisory Board Policy Subcommittee shall serve as non-voting advisors to the PPC. The PPC addresses those science policy issues that affect the development of physics, the health of the institutions in which physics is practiced, the resources available to physics, and the balanced use of these resources for the nation's scientific and technological needs. PPC shall make recommendations to the President, the Board, and the Council on these science policy issues. Recommendations from the PPC on public statements shall be considered by the POPA Steering Committee and then transmitted to Council as appropriate.

J4. Public Policy Statements: The APS recognizes three approval procedures for public policy statements that result in statements designated as (1) Public Policy Statements of the American Physical Society (APS Statements, or APS Public Policy Statements), (2) American Physical Society Board Statements (APS Board Statements), and (3) American Physical Society Unit Statements (APS Unit Statements).

J4.1 Procedure for Issuing APS Public Policy Statements:

  1. Initiation: Any APS Member, group of Members or APS Unit may submit a proposal to POPA for a statement. POPA will consider those proposals that meet the POPA Guidelines for Submission of APS Statements. If a decision is made not to proceed with drafting a Statement, POPA will convey its decision to those who submitted the proposal.
     
  2. Statement Drafting: POPA has exclusive responsibility for drafting statements. The Chair of POPA has the responsibility for ensuring that the statement draft incorporates appropriate APS member expertise. Members with conflicts of interest should not participate in Statement drafting or approval (see section J4.4 below). PPC input to the draft statement will be solicited.
     
  3. Upon POPA approval, the draft shall be sent to Council for comment. Next, the Board will vote on the proposed Statement, taking into consideration comments from Council members. Should the Board not approve the draft, the Board will provide POPA with a written list of concerns, and POPA may redraft and resubmit the Statement to the Board. A second disapproval shall terminate the process. Board approval leads to a Membership review.
     
  4. Membership Review: Upon Board approval, the CEO shall solicit comments from the entire Membership. Members shall have a minimum of 30 days to provide comments. At the end of the comment period, all comments will be made available to POPA, appropriate APS staff, the Board, and the Council.
     
  5. If POPA determines that member comments justify modification or rejection of the draft statement, POPA will transmit its recommendation to the Board in the form of a POPA-approved redraft or a letter that the statement process should be terminated. POPA, with the help of the CEO, will provide the Board with a verbal synopsis of member comments and the impact of those comments on the statement.
     
    The Board shall determine if Member comments have been adequately addressed and if the statement is ready for Council approval. Two denials by the Board subsequent to membership review terminate the process. At no time may the Board edit or redraft the statement.
     
  6. Council Approval: POPA will present the verbal synopsis described in J4.1.v to the Council. The synopsis and subsequent discussion will be reflected in the minutes of the Council meeting. If the Council approves the statement, it is deemed ready for publication.
     
  7. If the Council does not approve the statement, it is sent back to POPA with a written list of concerns. POPA may edit the draft and return it to the Board and the Council, or terminate the statement process. A second denial by the Council normally terminates the process. At no time may Council edit or redraft the statement.
     
  8. Publication: Under the direction of the CEO, the Society shall publish and distribute duly approved statements, at a minimum informing APS Unit officers and announcing the statement in the APS News and/or the APS website.
     
  9. Archiving: Statements of the American Physical Society are subject to review on the 5th anniversary of issuance or renewal, or earlier at the discretion of POPA or the Council. POPA will provide a recommendation to the Council, and the Council will vote to either renew or archive the Statement.

J4.2 Procedure for Issuing APS Board Statements: The Board or, if time is of the essence, the Executive Committee of the Board, may determine that it is in the interest of the Society to issue a public policy statement in an expedited manner and designated as APS Board Statements.

  1. Drafting: The Board or Executive Committee of the Board shall draft the statement.
     
  2. POPA Review: The POPA Steering Committee shall review the draft statement and solicit comments from the PPC, Council Steering Committee and the APS Office of Public Affairs. The POPA Steering Committee may edit the draft before forwarding it to the Board for final approval.
     
  3. Board Approval: The Board shall review the draft statement and any comments from the PPC and Office of Public Affairs. Additional edits to the draft require POPA Steering Committee approval. Upon final Board approval, the APS Board Statement is distributed under the supervision of the CEO and passed to POPA to determine if the Normal Procedure (outlined above) should be initiated to turn the statement into an APS Public Policy Statement.
     
  4. Publication: The Executive Office shall publish and distribute the Board Statement, at a minimum informing APS unit officers and announcing the statement in the APS News and/or APS website.
     
  5. Sunset: APS Board Statements will be archived after one year and are not renewable. A Board Statement may become an APS Public Policy Statement if the Normal Procedure (Section J4.1 above) is subsequently followed.

J4.3 APS Criteria and Procedures for Issuing Unit Statements: The following criteria and procedure shall be used by Units issuing their own policy statements (Unit Statements). Units, with the assistance of the APS Office of Public Affairs, will take into consideration the impact of the statement on the Society and the physics community and evaluate whether or not it is within the area of expertise of the Unit’s members. Unit Statements must not conflict with statements of other Units or of the APS as a whole. Unit Statements will clearly denote that the statement does not necessarily represent the position of the APS as a whole.

  1. Criteria for Proposed Statements – The following criteria shall be used to determine the appropriateness of a proposed Unit Statement and serve as a proposal template.
    1. Relevance: Why should the Unit make this statement and how is it specifically relevant to the interest and expertise of the Unit Members?
    2. Urgency: Why does the statement need to be issued now?
    3. Background: What technical background is there to support the statement?
    4. Context: Who are the potential proponents and critics of the statement and what have been/are the actions of other scientific organizations?
    5. Breadth: Is this a statement that would be better issued as an APS statement?
    6. Publication: What should the Unit do with the statement?
    7. Endurance: Will the statement have enduring value or is it a temporary position on an issue of specificity?

     
  2. Procedure – The Unit Executive Committee shall have overall responsibility for reviewing and deciding whether or not to issue a proposed Unit Statement. The Unit Executive Committee shall also be responsible for statement publication and periodic review to ensure continued relevance once a Unit Statement has been published.
    1. Acceptance: A statement proposal may be submitted by any current Unit Member. The proposal should not be more than three pages in length and address the criteria for proposed statements. A positive vote by a two thirds majority of the Executive Committee shall be required for a proposed statement to move forward.
    2. Drafting: Upon approval to move forward, the Chair shall appoint a subcommittee to draft a statement and shall ensure that the subcommittee incorporates members with sufficient expertise. At least two members of the Executive Committee shall be appointed to the drafting committee. A positive vote of the Executive Committee shall be required to accept a draft statement.
    3. Preliminary Review: Upon acceptance, the draft statement will be forwarded to the Corporate Secretary who will coordinate distribution to the Physics Policy Committee and the POPA Steering Committee for preliminary review. These reviews will focus on appropriateness, conflict with other Unit or APS Statements, and general comment. A report of these reviews will be returned to the Unit Executive Committee for possible revisions before moving to obtain Unit member comments.
    4. Member Input: The Executive Committee shall actively solicit comments from the Unit Membership with the assistance of the APS Staff as necessary. Unit Members shall have a minimum of 30 days to provide input.
    5. Modifications: At the end of the comment period, all comments shall be reviewed by the drafting committee. The drafting committee shall determine if the comments justify modifications to the draft statement. All comments and modifications to the statement shall be forwarded to the Unit Executive Committee for final review.
    6. Approval: Final Unit approval of the draft statement requires a two-thirds positive vote of the Unit Executive Committee.

     
  3. Approval: Upon final Unit approval, the proposal, the Unit approved statement, summaries of Unit Member comments, and a plan for publicizing the Unit Statement shall be forwarded to the Corporate Secretary. Prior to consideration by the Board, the Corporate Secretary shall solicit recommendations from the Physics Policy Committee, the Office of Public Affairs, and the POPA Steering Committee on the Unit Statement. Approval is required by the Board before publication of any Unit Statement.
     
  4. Archiving: Unit Statements are subject to review on the 5th anniversary of issuance or renewal, or earlier, at the discretion of the Unit Executive Committee. The Unit Executive Committee will vote to either renew or archive the Statement.

J4.4 Conflict of Interest: Conflict of interest is defined as "any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual because it (1) could significantly impair the individual's objectivity or (2) could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization." [Ref: National Academies of Science, Policy on Committee Composition and Balance and Conflict of Interest for Committees, used in the Development of Reports (May 12, 2003).] Anyone, particularly POPA, Board, and Council members, who have a conflict of interest, shall recuse themselves from all aspects of the Statement process, including drafting, commentary, and voting. The President of the APS shall be the final arbiter of potential conflicts of interest.