Around the Institute
By Sandy Magnus, AIAA fellow|September 2016
An update of AIAA’s activities in the volunteer and staff communities
I wanted to spend some time updating everyone on a few of the various activities that are ongoing around the Institute, both in the volunteer and staff communities. First I would like to give you a quick update on the governance project. The Board of Directors and Institute Development Committee discussed transition plans at their June meetings. The decision was made to keep the current structure until the May 2017 Board meeting. In the next year the group will be working to develop the policies and procedures necessary for a smooth transition. In May 2017 the new structure will be established with the current elected leadership. Over the course of the next three years, using the normal election cycle, a complete transition to the new structure will be completed. In addition, a preliminary set of Bylaws has been voted on and will be posted to the Governance Project webpage (www.aiaa.org/Governance). We will continue to communicate the progress and changes that are happening as they occur.
Another important project that we are starting concerns public access (and open access). The term “public access” identifies published works that must comply with the February 2013 memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to the heads of executive departments and agencies. The subject of this Executive Order concerned increasing access to the results of federally funded research. The memo requires any federal agency with over $100 million of extramural research funding to make the results of the research publicly available after a defined embargo period. (Recently the embargo period was defined as 12 months). The OSTP policy targets only peer-reviewed journal publications; it does not include conference papers or books. Open access, on the other hand, is a term used to identify material that is immediately available for free to the public. This category can include any kind of media or product and any source.
Federal agencies impacted by this policy are implementing different compliance solutions, and it is important for our research community to be cognizant of the various requirements. The procedural details and steps that authors must take to comply with the policy are still being developed at the various agencies (and will likely be written into the grant information). We will continue to monitor this topic and communicate information as we get it. In addition, we are examining the impact of the public access policy on AIAA as a publisher.
An additional issue yet to be addressed concerns scientific data. Per the OSTP memo, not only is the published paper to be made publicly available after an embargo period, but also the data used to support the paper. The agencies are still debating how this policy could and should be implemented. There are a lot of thorny questions around how to store, find, access, and document data that have yet to be worked out. Again, we will communicate details as they develop.
A lot has been going on in other areas across the Institute. In June, AIAA held the inaugural DEMAND for UNMANNED UAS symposium in conjunction with AIAA AVIATION 2016 in Washington, DC. The response from the community was very positive with over 250 people attending to discuss technical and policy issues related to this very fast moving field. The Unmanned Systems Program Committee will continue to develop AIAA activities, building on the great success of the first symposium. We are reaching out to develop collaborative relationships with other organizations in this area to facilitate communication between our membership and the UAS manufacturing, sales and operator communities.
We are also moving to address the evolution of energy as it affects the economics and environmental impact of the aerospace industry. A workshop on hybrid-electric propulsion was held at AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2016 with AIAA stakeholders, as well as invited experts from other technical and industry sectors including energy storage, electric machines, and electric utilities. A strategic roadmap was developed that identified the technical challenges that must be addressed to realize hybrid electric propulsion; this roadmap will guide AIAA’s program and product development to help our profession bring this technology to fruition. We also are planning an electric aircraft workshop and expo for AIAA AVIATION 2017.
The Diversity Working Group presented a plan of action to the Board at its June meeting that was unanimously adopted. (The AIAA Diversity Working Group page [http://www.aiaa.org/Diversity] will be updated with the plan soon.) The working group has spent the last year talking to many different groups in the community and has incorporated this feedback in its action plan. If you are interested in becoming engaged in this activity, please contact us at DiversityWG@aiaa.org.
We have been experimenting with a STEM program called “Generation STEM: Discovering Aerospace through Experience” at our forums. The program debuted at AIAA SPACE 2015, and also took place at AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2016. The program, targeting middle school students, provides a day of hands-on activities related to concepts and principals relevant to the aerospace industry. It also features several interactive corporate demonstrations provided by key industry leaders.
I want to close by thanking everyone for the time and energy that you put into AIAA. I know how busy your “day jobs” keep you and how important free time is. We all have a lot to fit into our 24 hours a day! I am extremely impressed and grateful for the time that our volunteers dedicate to AIAA, and hence, the aerospace profession. With your contributions we are making a difference in moving our industry, our profession, and the world forward! ★
— Sandy H. Magnus, Executive Director