Policies | Guideline

APS Fellowship Executive and Selection Committee Guidelines

Responsibilities of the Unit Executive Committee and Selection Committee when nominating and choosing Fellows

Unit Executive Committee responsibilities

Each unit executive committee is responsible for canvassing for nominations, promoting fellowship in the unit, and forming the selection committee.

Canvassing and promotion

At the end of the calendar year, APS staff will distribute a report of the carryover nominations that are still active and eligible for each unit’s honors. Executive committee members should review the existing nomination pool, canvass for a diverse pool of nominees, and send promotional messages via the unit’s communication channels.

Unit officers can request a current list of unit members who are eligible for election to Fellowship by submitting a Unit Statistics Request through the APS Unit Service Desk.

If officers would like to submit a nomination themselves, they may reference the conflict of interest definition and examples to prevent conflicts of interest.

Forming Selection Committees

Selection Committees are formed by the related APS unit. The committee composition varies by unit and may be defined in the unit’s bylaws. At least three reviewers must review each individual nomination. Selection Committees should be sized with this in mind. Committees may have pre-appointed standby members or substitutes, in case they are needed for some nominations. A convening chair, if non-conflicted, could fill this role.

In January, staff will ask each unit’s chair and secretary/treasurer to provide the selection committee at least one month before the fellowship deadline for their unit. If committee selections are dependent on elections and newly filled positions, continuing committee members should be confirmed as soon as possible.

Guidelines for promoting equity

The APS Committees on the Status of Women in Physics and on Minorities have crafted guidelines to improve the effectiveness of award, prize and fellowship committees in finding the most qualified person from a diverse, representative pool of candidates.

Selection Committee responsibilities

Selection Committees are responsible for reviewing nominations and recommending fellows.

The chair’s role

The Selection Committee chair is responsible for ensuring the review and selection process is completed on time and in within the Society’s policies and procedures. The chair facilitates and documents the review and selection process but, if possible, should not score or vote on nominees unless needed as a tiebreaker. The chair may take part in discussion of the nominees but should be mindful of their primary role of facilitator.

Scheduling Selection Committee calls

APS recommends the Selection Committee has at least one conference call to discuss nominees and scoring. APS staff can set up Zoom meetings and provide connection information for the committee’s use. Please request this in advance by emailing the APS Honors team.

If needed, APS staff can host an optional training session for selection committee members to review how to navigate the APS nominations system and answer any questions regarding procedures.


The chair of the Selection Committee will complete the chair report by providing conflict of interest disclosure and the committee’s selections. Some unit bylaws require that the chair report first be shared with the unit executive committee before submission to APS. Once received by APS, staff will submit the reports to the APS Council of Representatives for review and approval.

Selection timeline

APS suggests the following timeline for selections:

  • Mid-January: The unit executive committee reviews carryover nominees (if applicable) and begins canvassing and promotion.
  • One month before the fellowship deadline: The unit executive committee forms the selection committee and reports the committee roster to APS Honors staff.
  • April–June: After the unit fellowship deadline, the selection committee begins its review of nominations.
  • April–July: Selection committees complete their deliberations and select fellow(s).
  • August 1: The selection committee chair completes and submits the chair report.
  • August–September: Fellowship selections are reviewed by the APS Committee on Fellowship and the APS Council Steering Committee.
  • October: APS announces fellowship recipients.

Suggested scoring procedure

The optional suggested scoring procedure is intended to calibrate and focus the discussion of nominees, not replace or automate it. This is the process successfully used each year by the APS Medal and Prize Committee and the Apker Award Selection Committee. It is not mandatory if the unit already has a system in place that works well.

After the nomination deadline passes, committee members will be prompted to review nominations in the APS nominations system.

Instructions for scoring in the nominations system

  1. Log in to the APS nomination system with your myAPS account credentials.
  2. Select "My Reviewing Assignments."
  3. Review and rate each nomination from one (least recommended) to five (most recommended).

After the scoring deadline, the chair will review the committee’s scores and facilitate a discussion of the candidates.

The chair may choose to assign each committee member as primary reviewer of a subset of nominations. The primary reviewer should be prepared to briefly summarize the nomination on the committee selection call before discussion. Primary reviewer assignments may be based loosely on area of physics, but not necessarily.

If a clear consensus is not reached on the selection call after discussion of the scoring, voice voting or ranking candidates on the call may help the committee reach a decision.

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest arise between reviewer and nominee in situations where there are close personal or professional relationships, lines of authority, or fiscal responsibility. Some examples include:

  • Residing at the same institution, division, or department within the past four years
  • Collaborations (co-authors, post-docs, etc.) published within the past four years
  • Financial via direct chain of command and/or participation in tenure, promotion, salary, or forms of support by either party
  • Member of the same center or sharing any funding contract
  • Relationship due to immediate blood relation, current, or prior marriage or civil union
  • Current or prior students, advisees, and advisors
  • Nominator or participant in the nomination package

Selection Committee members are responsible for disclosing all potential conflicts of interest prior to review and assessment of nominations. The primary conflicts of concern are those between selection committee members and nominees and their institutions. Conflicts between selection committee members and nominators or supporters and their institutions are secondary but should be disclosed so all committee members are aware, and they can be managed by the selection committee. Selection committees are responsible for monitoring, handling, and reporting resolution for conflicts of interest.

Immediately after nominations are available for review, committee members should review the list of nominees and their institutions/departments and disclose to the entire committee any conflicts of interest as described above or other potential conflicts as the list of examples is not exhaustive. The committee should unanimously agree on a response based on the level of the conflict. Recusal from scoring and discussion of the person with whom a committee member has a conflict is likely appropriate for most cases. In more serious cases, a new committee member may need to be identified. In some cases, disclosure to the committee may be considered sufficient. The chair is responsible for documenting the details of each conflict and the committee’s unanimous response in the chair report. If the committee cannot agree unanimously, the conflicted committee member(s) should be recused from scoring and discussing the affected nomination(s).

Given the large size of many institutions where physicists work and the number and variety of their departments/divisions, shared institutional affiliation is less of a concern in these cases than shared department/division affiliation. Similarly, co-authorship of a multi-hundred-author paper from a major collaboration should be addressed pragmatically, based on the closeness of collaboration between the specific committee member and specific nominee.

Confidentiality and information security

Individuals serving on a selection committee must not disclose information about the committee’s business to individuals outside of the selection process. Selection committee business includes the committee’s deliberations, the number of nominations reviewed, conflicts of interest, and other sensitive information. The recommended recipients are not official until approved by the APS Council of Representatives and the recipient has completed a professional conduct disclosure.

Questions and more information

If you have any questions about the review process, please contact the APS Honors team .

Ethics guidelines

Nominees for and holders of APS Honors (prizes, awards, and Fellowship) and official leadership positions are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.

Join your Society

If you embrace scientific discovery, truth and integrity, partnership, inclusion, and lifelong curiosity, this is your professional home.