Many scholarly societies, like many academic institutions, are facing challenging times. Some of that can be blamed on COVID-19, but not all of it. The Scholarly Kitchen brought this interesting information to our attention in their article, “The Global Pandemic and Scholarly Societies.”

Maintaining a membership in one’s disciplinary organization was once thought of as a core component of what it was to be a professional, but the changing funding environment, the increasing casualization of the academic workforce as well as the ease of creating direct ties among individual colleagues in online social networking systems have contributed to the tenuous relationships that many scholars feel to their organizations today.

So much has changed since mid-March. The ability of societies to serve the needs of membership and academic or professional communities has been challenged. What does the future hold?

Scholarly societies face rising costs and declining memberships, causing them to rely increasingly on income from publications—at precisely the moment that they face increasing expectations among scholars that information and communication will exist in open spaces online.

Melody K. Smith

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