Letter from the President

Letter from the President

[Sine Larsen]
It has been the aim of my previous four Letters to give information on IUCr affairs relevant to the crystallographic community and to draw attention to issues that can create problems for crystallographers, and I have been grateful for the feedback I have received. The last letter ended by mentioning that users of large infrastructures do not always remember to recognize the efforts made by the staff to design and construct these excellent user-friendly research facilities; in their publications these users sometimes 'forget' to recognize the work of the scientists that have made their measurements possible. The e-mails I have received and the contacts and discussions I have had with scientists working at synchrotrons following this letter have confirmed that this is felt to be a major problem by the scientific staff at synchrotron beamlines. Both the users of the beamlines and the beamline staff belong to the IUCr community, and their interests are represented by IUCr Commissions. It is my hope that the dialogue that has now been initiated within and between the IUCr Commissions involved can lead to the formulation of a code of conduct for the recognition of the use of large research facilities.

The summer months are the period for scientific meetings, and I hope that you, like me, have had the opportunity to interact scientifically and socially with crystallographic colleagues. I had the pleasure to participate in the regional meetings of the ACA in Toronto and the ECA in Istanbul and also attended Indaba 6 in South Africa, and national meetings in Spain and Italy. I find it very valuable to meet with crystallographers in their own countries as it gives additional insight into crystallographic life. Therefore I was also happy to be invited to a meeting with the US and Canadian National Committees prior to the ACA meeting in Toronto and to discuss the relations between the IUCr and the Regional Associates and National members.

The IUCr Executive Committee (EC) held its annual meeting after the ACA meeting in Toronto. Most of the day-to-day business, such as the approval of Co-editors, support for young scientists and sponsorship of meetings, is handled by e-mail, so the days the Executive Committee spent together in Toronto were used to discuss and define the aims of the work of the IUCr leading up to the 2011 Congress in Madrid. The EC met with Enrique Gutiérrez-Puebla, Chair of the Madrid Congress Programme Committee, to finalize the membership of the Programme Committee that will now be starting the work of defining the scientific programme. I can assure you that our colleagues in Spain are using all their efforts to make the 2011 Congress a successful scientific event. The IUCr publications, the journals, International Tables and the IUCr Newsletter, are always on the agenda of the EC meetings. It is important for the EC that the IUCr journals keep their leading position among the crystallographic publications. A major effort is being made to bring the World Database of Crystallographers up to date. In a coming letter you will hear more about this work coordinated by the General Editor of the World Database (Iris Torriani from Brazil) and the staff in Chester. A review of the IUCr Statutes and By-Laws was another point on the agenda. At the General Assembly the EC would like to see more discussions and have more input from the National delegates; as the present voting procedure can be time-consuming alternative ways of voting will also be considered. The revision of the Statutes and By-Laws necessary to implement the changes proposed by the EC will be handled by an ad hoc Committee comprising two former IUCr Presidents, namely Ted Baker (representing the AsCA region) (Chair) and André Authier (ECA region) (both were Presidents at the last two changes of the Statutes and By-Laws), EC member Louis Delbaere (ACA region) and the Executive Secretary Mike Dacombe. I would like to thank the four members of the Committee for being willing to do this important work. The Committee will report to the EC next year, so it will be possible to have any changes to the Statutes and By-Laws ready for the 2011 Madrid meeting. In a letter next year you should hear about the proposed changes.

Sine Larsen (sine@kemi.ku.dk)