Minutes of the meeting of the Council of the Meteoritical Society

March 10, 2002 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX


Present: Gero Kurat, President; Tim Swindle, Treasurer; Ed Scott, Secretary; Mike Drake, Past President; Gary Huss, Vice President; Councilors: Adrian Brearley, Pat Cassen, Christian Koeberl, Marc Norman, Tim McCoy, Uwe Reimold, Sara Russell, Mini Wadhwa.

Guests: Hap McSween (Publications Committee chair), Guy Consolmagno (2001 meeting), Paul Warren (2002 meeting), Thomas Stephan (2003 meeting), Kimberly Taylor (LPI meetings coordinator).


1. Introductions, minutes, etc.

        The meeting was called to order at 1.35 pm by President Gero Kurat who welcomed the Council members and guests to the meeting.  The minutes of the last Council meeting were approved. 


2. Nomination committee report

        Ed Scott reported that Hideyasu Kojima has been appointed to lead the winter party of the

44th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition and will be in Antarctica for most of the term of office of the next Council.  The Nominating Committee therefore asked Guy Consolmagno to replace Kojima on the next Council and Consolmagno has agreed.  Since no more nominations were received by February 15, the next Council will be:

President: Gary Huss

Vice President: Herbert Palme

Past President: Gero Kurat

Secretary: Ed Scott

Treasurer: Kevin McKeegan

Councilors: Addi Bischoff, Adrian Brearley, Guy Consolmagno, Trevor Ireland, Christian Koeberl, Sara Russell, Meenakshi Wadhwa, Michael Zolensky.


3. GCA Editor’s report

      Unfortunately, Frank Podosek was not able to attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. His report (Appendix 1) was circulated prior to the meeting. There were no problems to report.  The abstracts for the Goldschmidt Conference would be printed in GCA as discussed last year.  Members who subscribe to GCA and authors of papers will have access to the electronic version of GCA. Page proofs can now be corrected at the printer’s website.


4. Changes in Bylaws

        Before considering proposed changes in the bylaws, the council discussed at Chris Koeberl’s request whether changes were needed in the rules governing by-law changes.  Article 5.2 of the Constitution requires that any amendment of the Bylaws be mailed to the Council at least one month before a regular council meeting and approved at that meeting by two-thirds of the entire Council.  Since Bylaw changes may be needed between council meetings, Chris Koeberl proposed that an amendment to the Constitution should be submitted to the members to allow the council to make rapid changes in Bylaws by email.  Scott noted that it is very rare for bylaw changes to be needed between Council meetings.


Motion: The Council should investigate ways to allow the Council to amend Bylaws by email between regular Council meetings.  Proposed by Koeberl, seconded Reimold. Unanimously approved.


a) Bylaw changes required by the State of California for tax exempt status:

        Changes to Article 3 (Finance) and new Articles 16 (Political Limitation) and 17 (Dissolution) are needed to gain tax exempt status in the State of California. The proposed changes (Appendix 2a) were drafted by the Treasurer, circulated to council members in December 2001 and approved by email in January 2002.

Motion: The Council approves the amendments to the Bylaws given in Appendix 2, which are required to gain tax exempt status in California. Proposed by Koeberl, seconded Reimold. Motion passed unanimously.


b) Bylaw changes for the Joint Publications Committee

        Changes are needed in Articles 7 and 9 of the Bylaws to allow the Joint Publications Committee to focus solely on GCA. One draft of Articles 7 and 9 that concern the Joint Publications Committee and the GCA Editor had been circulated prior to the Rome meeting following discussions with Frank Podosek.  A second version was drafted by Scott after he received the new Bylaws of the Geochemical Society that separated MAPS from the oversight of the Joint Publications Committee.  This version was emailed to council members, the Chair of the JPC and Podosek on 11-30-01.  As there was no further discussion by email, this version (Apendix 2c) was mailed to Council members on 2-2-02.

        Koeberl suggested ways that the wording of article 7.2 might be improved. However, this seemed unwise as the Geochemical Society had already adopted the proposed wording.

Motion: The Council approves changes in Articles 7 and 9 of the Bylaws in Appendix 2c that are required to allow the Joint Publications Committee of the Meteoritical Society and the Geochemical Society to focus solely on GCA and to bring the relevant Bylaws of the Meteoritical Society into line with those of the Geochemical Society. Proposed Huss, seconded Drake. Motion passed unanimously.


c) Bylaw changes to establish a new Society Publications Committee to oversee MAPS.

        A draft of proposed changes in Articles 7 and 8 to set up a Publications Committee to oversee MAPS had been circulated before the meeting (Appendix 2b). The Council with Hap McSween’s assistance discussed ways of rewording the existing Article 8.3, which relates to duties of the JPC rather than omitting it entirely.

Motion: Article 8.3 should be reworded to read as follows: “The Editor of MAPS shall seek the advice of the Society Publications Committee before proposing to the Council any major changes in the operation or format of the journal.”  Proposed Drake, seconded Huss. Passed unanimously.


Article 7.3. Membership of Committee.

        Article 7.3, which specifies how the members of the Committee should be appointed, was discussed.  McSween pointed out that three of the six members of the current Publications Committee (Koeberl, Norman, and Huss) are currently on the Council. This severely limits the ability of the Committee to give independent advice to the Council.  It was anticipated that this situation would be partly rectified at the end of the year when Huss becomes President.  Koeberl argued that Council approval was not needed for the appointment of Committee members.

Motion: The proposed Article 7.3 that specifies how committee members are appointed shall be changed by omitting “and shall be approved by the Council.” Proposed Koeberl, seconded Norman. In favor, 11; against: 1. Motion passed.

Motion: The proposed Article 7.2 shall be modified by adding at the end: “Incumbent members shall be eligible for re-nomination.” Proposed by Koeberl, seconded by Norman. Motion passed unanimously.


Article 7.5 Committee responsibilities

Article 7.5d. The Council discussed how the wording of the Article might be improved. McCoy suggested that the words “by the Editor “ be added.

Motion: Proposed Article 7.5d shall be modified to read “To advise the Editor of Meteoritics and Planetary Science when requested by the Editor.” (McCoy, seconded Reimold). Motion passed: 10 in favor, 1 abstention.

Article 7.5e.  The version of this article that was initially proposed at the Rome Council meeting was based on the Joint Committee bylaw.  This states that the responsibilities of the Publications Committee shall include the following: “To mediate conflicts between an Editor and authors. Such mediation may be initiated at either the author's or the Editor's request, but the final decision will reside with the Editor.”

After the Rome meeting the Council, MAPS Editor and Associate Editors discussed at length by email how any conflicts between authors and Editors might be resolved.  A 6 page summary of these email discussions was circulated to the council on 11-30-01 by the Secretary.  A new version of Article 7.5c was then drafted by Scott: “To help resolve any conflict involving the Editor that cannot be resolved with the assistance of the Board of Associate Editors.” This was circulated by mail to the Council, Publications Committee chair, and MAPS Editor on 2-2-02 with the package of proposed bylaws.

        At the Council meeting, several members discussed this proposed Bylaw at length. Koeberl argued that authors should be allowed to appeal the decision of the Editor to the Publications Committee.  McSween spoke against this proposal as he concluded that the Publications Committee should only advise on policy matters. There is already a Board of Associate Editors that can advise the Editor about scientific issues.  McSween considered that it was unwise to allow disgruntled authors to appeal to the Publications Committee.  Cassen also spoke against the proposal arguing that the Editor should have the authority to run the journal and that separate appeal boards were not needed.

Motion: Proposed Article 7.5e shall be modified using the wording for the Joint Publications Committee: “To mediate conflicts between an Editor and authors. Such mediation may be initiated at either the author's or the Editor's request, but the final decision will reside with the Editor.” Proposed Koeberl, seconded Reimold. Motion failed: 7 against, 2 in favor, 3 abstained.

        Huss argued that the proposed wording of Article 7.5e was too vague and that it should be deleted. Animated discussions continued and Swindle argued in favor of the existing vague wording.

Motion: Proposed Article 7.5e shall be deleted. Proposed Huss, seconded Cassen. Six voted in favor of the motion and six against. President Kurat invoked Article 3.6 of the Constitution and cast his vote against the motion.

        Continued discussions produced another version of Article 7.5c.

Motion: Proposed Article 7.5e shall be modified to read: “To help resolve any conflict involving the journal that cannot be resolved by the Editor and Board of Associate Editors.”  Motion proposed by Norman, seconded by Brearley: 10 votes for, 1 against, 1 abstained.

Motion: The Council shall adopt the proposed Articles 7 and 8 as modified. Proposed Huss, seconded Wadhwa. Motion passed unanimously.

        The new Articles 7-9 of the Bylaws are included as Appendix 3.


5. Treasurer’s Report

        Tim Swindle presented a revised report (Appendix 4).  (Some small errors had been detected in the version that had been emailed to council members before the meeting.)  Swindle reported that memberships for 2002 were down from last year.  673 members had paid on March 1 vs. 743 for the same date last year.  However, renewals were sent out late this year because the GCA subscription rate was not available on time. The application for tax exempt status had been resubmitted to the State of California.  Efforts were being made to establish new signatories and mailing addresses for some restricted accounts.

        The rest of the report concerned a summary of the financial assets at the end of 2001.  The total change in the Society’s assets for 2001 was -$4K.  The assets in the operating accounts had decreased by $13K.  The Society’s Endowment and Nier Funds had dropped in value because of stock market vagaries. 

Motion: this year’s Nier prize should be paid from the GCA royalties. (Swindle, seconded Drake) Unanimously approved.

        Swindle suggested that the Investments committee be asked to recommend how the Nier funds are tracked.  He also recommended that the GCA office expenses be taken from the GCA royalties.

Motion: the GCA office expenses should be paid each year from the GCA royalties account. Proposed Swindle, seconded Reimold. Unanimously approved.

        Swindle requested that the Investments Committee restudy the question of using endowment funds for the Society’s contribution to the MAPS gift subscriptions. Last year the Society’s contribution was $3,795.  Swindle noted that one major item that needs to be paid from the dues in addition to MAPS is the treasurer’s expenses: $7K to the University of Arizona for the treasurer’s office for 2001 plus $1K to an accountant for taxes and work on tax-exempt status in CA.  The advance of $13K for the UCLA meeting in 2002 had been more than balanced by the $31K returned by the Chicago meeting held in 2000.


6. Publications Committee report

        The chair of the new Publications Committee, Hap McSween, presented his report dated December 10, 2001 (Appendix 7). 

a) MAPS Supplement.  The Committee was asked to address a suggestion made by the MAPS Editor and Associate Editors that the Meteoritical Bulletin and other non-refereed materials should be published in a new house journal rather than in the MAPS Supplement.  The Committee first determined that the abstracts have little or no effect on the journal’s impact factor.  In order to ascertain whether the presence of the Meteoritical Bulletin is perceived to have a negative effect on the journal’s prestige, the committee polled a subset of members; 55 responded as follows:

Is the present system (inclusion of abstracts and other non-peer reviewed materials in a MAPS Supplement) harmful to MAPS prestige as a scientific journal?  Responses:  YES (14%), NO (86%)

Is the present system beneficial to METSOC members by making abstracts and other materials more readily available?  Response:  YES (98%), No (2%)

        Based on these responses and the unsolicited comments provided by many respondents, a majority of the Committee concluded that little, if any harm to the prestige of the journal results from publishing abstracts as a Supplement.  The Committee saw no compelling need for changing the way in which abstracts are presently published, and thus recommended that the abstract Supplement to MAPS be retained.  The Committee would address the Meteoritical Bulletin in a future report after it had obtained advice and information from the appropriate Editors.


b) Abstracts.  The Committee then addressed whether the production of abstracts could be made less time-consuming and costly.  The Editor and Associate Editors had recommended that limits be placed on the size of abstracts and that print-only abstracts should not be accepted.  McSween noted that the abstracts provide a valuable record but, by definition, they are ephemeral.  The Committee agreed with the editors’ recommendation and recommended to the council that, “abstracts should be limited to one printed column of camera-ready material, including any figures or tables, and that no print-only abstracts should be accepted.”

        The Committee concluded its report as follows. “Derek Sears is doing a superlative job as MAPS Editor.  He has guided the journal through many advantageous changes, such as modifying its name and cover to reflect its broad topical coverage, expanding and increasing the frequency of publication, and instituting the abstract Supplement.  MAPS faces more evolutionary and revolutionary changes in the near future, including how to thrive in the electronic era and how to compete in a marketplace of science journal aggregates.  We value Derek’s vision and expertise, and the Committee hopes that the present recommendations will be viewed in the context of what we believe is best for the Society.”

Motion: The Council accepts the recommendations of the Publications Committee concerning the publication of the abstracts in the Supplement to MAPS. Proposed Scott, seconded Drake. Passed unanimously.


c) Contract for the MAPS Editor.  The Publications Committee was asked by the President to come up with a contract between the Society and the MAPS Editor that would clearly document the duties and responsibilities of the Editor and the Society.  The proposed contract in Appendix 6 was based on a draft from Derek Sears and a copy of the contract between the GCA Editor and Elsevier and had been submitted to Sears and Kurat on January 20.  Kurat responded positively but Sears stated that he hoped to respond in summer 2002.  Suggestions for changes await a response from Sears. 

Motion: The Council urges the MAPS Editor to respond to the Publication Committee so that agreement can be reached on the final wording of the contract and approves in principle the draft version pending minor changes that can be approved by email.  Proposed Drake, seconded Swindle. Motion approved unanimously.


7. Annual Meetings

        Before the presentation of reports by the organizers of annual meetings, Kimberly Taylor, the LPI’s meeting coordinator/representative for the Meteoritical Society, was introduced.  She invited questions from the Council and meeting organizers and can be contacted at Taylor@lpi.usra.edu.  (The support functions that the LPI provides for Meteoritical Society Meetings in the US and outside the US are listed in the MAPS Supplement Committee’s report to the Rome Council meeting.)


2001 Rome

        Guy Consolmagno presented an update to his report that had been included in the Newsletter last year.  The final calculations showed that the meeting had made a small profit of 668 Euros.  The meeting had extremely low registration costs because of five factors: we were not charged by the Gregorian University for the use of meeting rooms, 40% of the budget came from grants, the record attendance, free assistance from numerous volunteers especially from Münster and Mainz, and the Vatican’s banking expertise.


2002 Los Angeles

      Paul Warren handed a fact sheet summarizing arrangements for the UCLA meeting.  He reported that the Barringer lecturer would be Michael C. Malin.  The meeting would continue through Friday pm.  He thanked the LPI for handling accommodation fees from registrants.  Cancellations would be handled by UCLA.  He noted that the campus room rates included breakfast and lunch. The registration fee would be $300 for members through June 10. The registration fee included $40 for MAPS ($45 had been requested). A budget had been submitted to Swindle for approval. 


2003 Münster  

      Thomas Stephan reported for Elmar Jessberger on the arrangements for the Meeting in Münster in 2003 on July 28 to August 1.  The meeting will be held at the Schloss in a main University building.  Posters will be set up for the duration of the meeting across from the lecture rooms. The banquet will be held in a tent in the Schlossgarten.  There will be three post-meeting field trips: Nördlinger Ries, to Wattenmeer, and to the Volcanic Eifel area including Maare, Kaiserstuhl, Black Forrest etc.


2004 Rio de Janeiro                                        

      Because of conflicts with the IGC, Rosa Scorzelli suggested two earlier dates: August 1-6 and 8-13. August 1-6 was preferred.  The Council noted that few members could afford $180 hotel rooms.  President Kurat will write to Scorzelli requesting more detailed plans by the time of the UCLA meeting.


2005 Tennessee

        Hap McSween proposed that the Society meet in Gatlinburg rather than in Knoxville as Gatlinburg is a much more attractive and interesting venue with excellent meeting and eating facilities. Gatlinburg is a village in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park about 1 hour drive from Knoxville.  He proposed that the meeting be held September 11-16 when the weather will be comfortable and the hotel rates will be cheaper than mid-summer or fall. 

Motion. The Council approves the plan to hold the Annual Meeting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on September 11-16. (Koeberl, seconded McCoy). Passed unanimously.



        An invitation from Alex Halliday and Rainer Wieler had been received to hold the 2006 meeting in Zurich, Switzerland (Appendix 7).  Kurat reported that an invitation to hold the meeting in Tokyo may be forthcoming so a decision was postponed until the next meeting.


2007 Tucson

        Tim Swindle reported that three possible sites for the meeting were being investigated.


8. MAPS Editors report

        Derek Sears was unfortunately not able to attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference but had submitted his report prior to the council meeting (Appendix 8).  For 2001, MAPS averaged just 7.83 months from original submission to hard copy publication and only 4.77 months from original submission to publication at the electronic preprint web site, Prelude.  Since January, Sheridan Press has handled the printing, binding and mailing of the journal.  The sale & billing of reprints is coordinated through the production office.  New guidelines for abstract submission are now in place. An undergraduate has been hired to take over some of the editorial assistant duties and to format the abstracts.  The increase in the production office expenses for 2002 largely reflects salary and salary-related increases mandated by the University of Arkansas.

        The Council discussed the projected budget for 2003 and Sears’ recommendation that the library rates be increased from $830 to $930.  Huss presented a viewgraph showing the MAPS expenses over the last few years and argued that cost of producing the journal had been increasing exponentially.  Huss expressed alarm and argued that there was no justification for increasing the projected page numbers for 2003 from 2248 to 2476.  

Motion: The library subscription rates for MAPS for 2003 should be fixed at the 2002 levels. Proposed: Huss, seconded: Cassen. The motion passed with 11 in favor and one abstention. 

        Further discussions related to ways of increasing revenue and cutting costs.

Motion: The Council requests the Publications Committee to examine ways of mitigating future increases in the cost of MAPS including consideration of capping the total number of pages per year and ways of increasing the number of library subscriptions. Proposed: Drake, seconded Russell. Unanimously passed.

        The Council considered Sears’ recommendation to charge $45 for each meeting volume sold to cover all production expenses.

Motion: The registration fee for professional attendees at the UCLA meeting shall include a $45 fee for the MAPS abstract volume. Proposed: Swindle, seconded Brearley. Passed: 11 in favor, 1 against.


9. Meteoritical Bulletin 

        Sara Russell reported that page proofs for the next Meteoritical Bulletin had been delayed because Monica Grady had been on sabbatical leave and because of computer problems.  However, camera-ready copy will be sent to the MAPS office before the end of March in good time for publication in the Supplement.  It was anticipated that the task of preparing next year’s Bulletin would be much easier as a grant to Grady would allow for 0.5 days/week of secretarial help.


10. AOB

        Koeberl requested that the GCA and MAPS Editors’ reports be submitted to the Council at least a week before council meetings.

        A list of members of all the Society Committees for 2002 was circulated with the agenda to council members (Appendix 7). This list is also available on the Society website.

The meeting ended at 5.45 p.m.


Ed Scott, Secretary; 4/10/02



1. GCA Editor’s report.

2. Proposed bylaw revisions: a) required by the State of California, b) MAPS Editor and Publications Committee, c) GCA Editor and Joint Publications Committee.

3. Bylaw Articles 7-9: version approved by Council.

4. Treasurer’s report.

5. Publications Committee report.

6. Draft of contract with MAPS Editor.

7. Invitation to Zurich for 2006.

8. MAPS Editor’s report.

9. Committee members for 2002.