Editorial – The On-Demand Society

By . Published on 23 April 2015 in:
April 2015,

“Welcome to EPS On-Demand, the always-on, online community for European physicists, delivering news, materials from EPS conferences or other events, and all types of resources for your specific needs, bringing answers to your questions in an interactive way” .

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful advertisement for our Society?

In the business world, the On-Demand economy is by definition the economic activity created by technology companies that fulfils consumer needs via the immediate provision of goods and services. This economy, based on technological innovation and an efficient infrastructure network, is actually revolutionising consumer behaviour around the world.

Is this just a short-term bubble? I don’t think so and one can expect the same trends among all scientific organisations including learned societies. Indeed in a hyper-connected world where information travels around the globe in a fraction of a second through a multitude of parallel channels, including internet and social networks, one cannot expect to be spared from on-demand hype. Open Access, i.e., the unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research, is one good example.

At the EPS Council, which took place in Bad Honnef on 27-28 March, the priorities for 2015, the role of EPS as an umbrella organisation and its representation in Brussels were discussed and supported by an interesting round table where five invited speakers shared their views on how to influence EU science policy. As an open and dynamic society, EPS will also undergo a review of its own strategy with conclusions to be presented at the next Council. Another important issue was the debate on the procedure for the endorsement and publication of EPS statements and position papers. This is from my point of view one of the roles of an On-Demand Society: to be able to address critical scientific issues and societal challenges, with a fast response time in order to have a measurable impact.

As the new EPS president, I am very interested in the demands of all of our members, from EPS Member Societies, to EPS Divisions and Groups, to Associate Members and Individual Members. Where can EPS further improve, where can it be more responsive, without forgetting of course the limited means available? I would like to express my thanks here to all of my predecessors and in particular our past president, John Dudley for their fantastic contributions in making EPS a strong and well recognised society. It is already evident that the ongoing IYL2015 is a full success worldwide, after a great opening ceremony at the UNESCO in Paris in January. We are all in debt to John for his outstanding engagement and dynamism, helped in his task by our EPS Secretariat. Now that the bar has been set so high, I will do my best to add to the legacy of my predecessors for the further benefit of EPS.

Since we are physicists, keen to develop new experiments or theories,and analysing data, I would like to propose a little novelty in the form of an online multiple-choice questionnaire with instantaneous feedback. All our readers will be able to contribute by answering these opinion polls, and we hope that the response is high enough to enable us to draw interesting conclusions from the input received. Another way to contribute is by submitting to the editorial team of e-EPS new sets of questions on timely issues for regular updates. This should hopefully help generate an interesting source of information and generate dynamic interaction among our members. Isn’t it what one would call an On-Demand initiative? Let’s try it and see if it works in the long run. Please follow the link to the questionnaire and have fun with this first example of online poll.

Best regards

Christophe Rossel,
EPS President

Read previous post:
The round table on “Influencing EU Science Policy” at the 2015 EPS Council in Bad Honnef

At the EPS Council meeting, which took place on 27-28 March in Bad Honnef (DE), a round table was organised on the topic of “Influencing European Commission Science Policy”. The round table attracted the attention of the participants and triggered interesting discussions. The scientific and industrial communities need to provide their viewpoints to science policy makers. EPS needs to define its own strategy and continue its collaborations with other learned societies and organisations representing different scientific fields to speak with a coherent voice in the EU.
The presentations at the round table were centred on these issues with specific inputs related to the experience of the organization (or company) represented by the speaker.