TO:                       System Dynamics Society Policy Council


FROM:                       Bob Cavana, V-P (at Large), SDS


DATE:                       21 January 2005


SUBJECT:                       Complimentary Society Memberships



At the Oxford ISDS conference in July 2004, the Policy Council agreed that up to 20 people be given complimentary memberships to the Society to promote “diversity of membership by geography."  The cost to the Society is $15 per membership in terms of revenue foregone and Wiley has agreed to give this number of free journals for each issue for the 3 year duration of their contract with SDS.  A committee to implement this action was appointed, consisting of Bob Cavana (chair), Scott Rockart, Graham Winch, and David Lane with the mandate to report back at the 2005 Policy Council meeting.


The committee has had a brief electronic discussion regarding the development of this policy, application and evaluation procedures, and an  implementation plan. Bob Eberlein, Ginny Wiley, Roberta Spencer and Graham Russel from Wiley were also included in the discussions. The general comments received were to keep the scheme very simple and to action it quickly.  The complimentary memberships would be awarded for a period of 2 years, then beneficiaries would be expected to renew their memberships as probably ‘low income’ members.


Target Groups


Two main groups were identified for the Society to target at this stage:


(1)   Members of the SD community in 'lower income' regions to enable chapters to be formed or maintained and to encourage the development of local SD activity/meetings etc.

(2)   Recent SD graduates who move to a new post where there is no current SD activity.




The scheme should be advertised on the Society’s website alongside the information about membership. A simple application form can be developed. It could also be included in the President’s newsletter and on the SD listserve.


Application Procedures


Applications should be made direct to the Society Home Office, and then distributed to the Complimentary Memberships Committee (plus the V-P Members & Chapters) to assess on a monthly basis, until the complimentary memberships are all awarded. Proposals should be either:


(1)   From existing or aspiring new chapters in ‘lower income’ regions. Aspiring chapters should show an appropriate number of 'members in good standing' and provide sufficient background information on each new member so the committee can make a decision. A maximum of 5 complimentary memberships will be awarded to any existing or new chapter at any point in time. Chapters would also have to accept that this would be time limited for the chapter, i.e. they should not expect subsidised number for more than a few years.  A chapter is not viable if it does not longer-term attract sufficient self funding members. 

(2)   The other category, is young individuals who are likely to want to try to pursue SD as the basis for a long-term career and who would  be able to subscribe in their own right, within, say 2 years - maybe as low-income members.  This might be particularly valuable for PhD graduates moving to a new post at a different institution with no SD activity who would want to develop SD there.  A joint proposal from the individual and his/her supervisor on a simple form should be sufficient.


Policy council approval of the development of simple application forms and advertising the scheme on the Society’s web site and other appropriate places.

Bob Cavana

Vice President (At Large)

System Dynamics Society