One possibility that recently surfaced for formalization is ISTAR
becoming a Section of the International Society of Protistologists
(ISOP, website http://www.uga.edu/protozoa/). As usual, there are good reasons to do this, but there are
also possible complications/concerns. We do not fully understand how
everything would work out, but we are in contact with Michael Dolan,
the secretary of ISOP which may be able to answer our questions.
Let's explain the parts we understand:
- while being a Section we remain independent: we continue to have our
website, we organize our own meetings, etc.
- we don't have to go through all the legalese in establishing ISTAR.
We would abide by ISOP constitution and bylaws, so this would be a
relatively painless procedure
- we do not have to worry about electing officers such as President,
Secretary, Treasurer, etc. We only need to elect a steering committee,
which is more appropriate for our small size
- the one condition to being a Section of ISOP is that 30 of our
members are also regular members of ISOP. On the one side this means
not everybody in our Society has to necessarily be a member of ISOP.
On the other side we calculate we have about 15 current members, which
means we would need to ask 15 more people to join ISOP. The 15 people
already ISOP members need to do nothing.
- members of our Society who are also members of ISOP will have full
benefits at ISOP, which among other things means receiving a print
copy of the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, and a free copy of the
two volume Illustrated Guide to the Protozoa upon subscription. So in
fact, people will get two societies for the price of one.
- there is a cost to be a member of ISOP (about 90 dollars/year for
regular members, 40 for students, and 20 for corresponding members)
- if we have 30 regular/student members, we get a seat at the ISOP
executive committee. In our understanding this is the key position to
getting funds from them.
- if we do not have 30 regular/student members, but some mixture of
corresponding+regular+student members, we can still be a Section but
do not get a seat at Executive Committee.
- there is a good chance that by becoming a Section of ISOP, we can
organize a Testate Amoeba session at their annual meeting.
- a further advantage is that by being numerous members in ISOP, we can help shape that society according to our needs.
Now, some preliminary concerns have already been raised about this option:
- one major concern is that people would be sending their money to a
larger society, and we have to worry about how this money will return
to us to fund our activities. The main activity we would like to see
funded is our tri-annual meeting. So we would like money to partly
cover the meeting costs, but more importantly, provide travel grants
to students and researchers who are out of funds. Alternatively, we
must think that if we had our own independent Society, we would have
to calculate what amount of income would we actually have to cover
such costs in the three years between meetings. Our preliminary
understanding is that it will be the executive committee officer's job
to make sure we see those funds.
- perhaps most members of ISTAR are more on the ecology side, and
won't have a great benefit by joining ISOP. If a large portion of our
members are not interested in joining ISOP, it really doesn't make
much sense to be a Section.