Government Affairs Program

AGI Government Affairs Advisory Committee Meeting Report

April 30, 2009
AGI Headquarters
Alexandria, Virginia

An agenda with links to background materials accompanies this report.
Download a PDF version of this report.

Mary Lou Zoback, Chair of GAPAC
Pat Leahy, Executive Director of AGI
Linda Rowan, Director of Government Affairs
Corina Cerovski-Darriau, Policy Associate for Government Affairs
Clint Carney, Intern for Government Affairs
Kaitlin Chell, American Geophysical Union
Larry Becker, Association of American State Geologists
Mark Molinari, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists
Elizabeth Duffy, Seismological Society of America
John Keith, Association of Earth Science Editors
Brandon Smith, National Ground Water Association
Blair Jones, Clay Minerals Society
Peter Warwick, The Society for Organic Petrology
David Curtiss, American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Tim West, U.S. Geological Survey
Peter Smeallie, American Rock Mechanics Association
Craig Schiffries, Geological Society of America
Marianne Guffanti, American Geophysical Union
David Steer, National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Susan Newman, Seismological Society of America
Hal Gluskoter, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.
Jessica Ali-Adeeb, Association for Women Geoscientists
Hazel Medville, National Speleological Society

Action Items for GAPAC Representatives:

  1. Send any additional comments about the Monthly Review to Linda.
  1. Review the other GAP web pages for the next GAPAC meeting
  1. Suggest links and resources for “live” version of the Transition Document (document will be posted on the web in html and we can add new information and resources and revise any typographical errors)
  1. Consider ways to build upon the effectiveness of the Transition Document through white papers, enhancements to the live version and other tools.
  1. Inform your member societies of GAP activities and opportunities. Seek input from societies on GAP activities and documents.

Action Items for GAP Staff:

  1. Complete minutes of the meeting and send to GAPAC for review. Then post.
  1. Consider using Google groups for GAPAC
  1. Complete an additional survey of Monthly Review and summarize the results along with the comments from GAPAC
  1. Determine a date for the next GAPAC (associated with GSA Mtg Oct 18-21)

Minutes of the April 30, 2009 GAPAC Meeting

  1. Introductions
  1. Overview of use of the geoscience transition document with the new Administration and Congress
  1. Overview of geoscience-related priorities in the new Administration and Congress
  1. What are some of the critical needs of member societies from the new federal leadership?
  1. Rapid review of the Monthly Review

GAPAC members ended the meeting with a rapid review of the Monthly Review. Each society representative was asked to briefly answer the following series of questions:

Rapid review of Monthly Review  – everyone gets 2 minutes to address the following questions (11:00 to 11:30)

The answers to the questions are summarized below:
Do you read the monthly review?
A few read the entire monthly review, but most scan for articles of interest and read those. One saves the review and refers back to it for reference when an issue or topic arises for the society. Most scan or read the email. Few go to the website version, even though the website is a bit easier to read and jump from article to article. A few also print out the review and read it when it is convenient. Many forward to others and a few distribute to their society membership or a subset of their society membership. A few distribute specific articles within the review to some members.

What do you think about the length?
Most thought the length was about right and noted that readers are not required to read the whole review, but can browse for topics of interest.  A few thought the review was too long and should be shortened. A few wanted to see additions to the review.

What do you think about the breadth? Diversity of topics?
Most thought the breadth was about right. Although a few noted that many topics might not be of interest to their members, no one made any specific suggestions on topics that should be eliminated. A few suggested increasing the breadth to cover engineering aspects, intersections between science and engineering and adding international coverage.

Most thought the diversity of topics was fine and made the review comprehensive. At least five people called the review "comprehensive" in their comments and this was the most often repeated single-word descriptor.

Top three things you like about the Monthly Review included: diversity; comprehensiveness; clarity/understandable; well-written; "universe-defined"; concise/succinct; like the hyperlinks; laid out well; written like a newspaper article, so you can read the first paragraph and decide if you want to read the rest; timely release and posting on the AGI web site; and provides information on the federal government.

Top three things you would change:
Change the order or better define the order of headlines
Divide into categories such as water, energy and others
Provide a short summary of each item
Make the headings stand out using bold face or other style tools
Provide a rating per item using stars or another mechanism
Expand audience for review
Leave out fluff
Provide brief synopses for society newsletters
Develop a headline sort function
Fix typos and missing links
Provide more quality control
Convert to html style
Layout is bland and needs some spiffing up
Add more information about what action geoscientists might take on different issues
Note where action is needed for given issues

What else can GAP do to inform the geosciences community?
Post items on Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as AOL, written in a suitable style for the public.
Provide reviews in a more timely fashion rather than monthly.
Provide brief synopses for society newsletters.
Provide links for society web pages.
Expand audience for monthly review, especially to young geoscientists.

Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted October 8, 2009