A meeting held in Dallas, TX, 10-11 February 2012
Over the last several decades, profound changes with far-reaching consequences have occurred in the practice of science and in the diversity and capabilities of communication options (e.g., electronic publication; open access journals). These changes apply to all scientific fields and have produced a cascade of effects that challenge scientific societies generally and ornithological societies in particular. It is time for the ornithological community to embrace these challenges and benefit from the opportunities they offer.
The Committee for the Development of the Society for Ornithology (SFO) has formulated a new vision for the future of ornithology in the Western Hemisphere that aims to advance the scientific understanding of birds, enrich ornithology as a profession, and promote a rigorous scientific basis for avian conservation through research, publications, education, and outreach.
The SFO Committee met with the AOU Council and presidents of the Association of Field Ornithologists, Society of Canadian Ornithologists/Société des Ornithologistes du Canada, Cooper Ornithological Society, Neotropical Ornithological Society, and Wilson Ornithological Society to explore avenues to re-vitalize ornithology and its professional organization.
The Committee had considered various options and developed a draft proposal. Key components of this tentative plan includes formation of a non-profit society governed by a Board of Directors composed of professional ornithologists and members of the philanthropic and business community; management by a professional staff; a new suite of journals, monographs, and books; cutting edge innovations in communications; a renewed dedication to science in support of conservation; and international efforts in outreach and education that span all ages and career stages among members.
After two days of discussion, the group elected to move forward by developing a structure for a Society for Ornithology that will result in dissolving the original Committee to make way for a new committee with equal representation from all interested ornithological societies.
In the coming months, members of all interested societies will be asked for input into the planning process. Please watch for a message from your society president within the next month that will link you to relevant documents and encourage comments from all interested ornithologists. A public forum for discussion will be held at the NAOC V in Vancouver, BC in August 2012.