Like many of you, we in ASLO’s leadership are very concerned by the Trump Administration’s executive order banning entry of citizens from seven countries into the United States. One of ASLO’s guiding principles is to make ASLO products and services available and accessible “to all members (independently of geographic location, stage of career development and disciplinary interests within the aquatic sciences).” As a global organization, policies that could inhibit international collaboration and exchange are an immediate and important concern to us at ASLO.
On 31 January, we joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and 150+ other organizations in a letter urging the Trump Administration to rescind the ban. In the days since the executive order was signed, the U.S. court system has repeatedly struck down the ban on the basis of questionable constitutionality. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the ban. We will continue to monitor this situation and will speak out as necessary, but hope, and believe, that the system of “checks and balances” in the U.S. will prevent the ban from being reinstated.
We are aware of a petition circulating in the global community to boycott U.S. conferences, meetings and other forums. We hope that all of you registered for the Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu this month will still plan to attend. We strongly believe that by standing together, and continuing to work across borders, we can each do our part to keep international collaboration alive and well.
ASLO is committed to fostering international collaboration, as is evident in our guiding principles, strategic plan and activities. Below are some of the initiatives and policies within ASLO we have put in place to foster our global membership:
- In 2006, ASLO adopted a policy of hosting conferences outside of the United States every 3 years.
- Since 2010 ASLO has funded participation by 2-4 non U.S. citizens to each of the Eco-DAS early career symposia.
- In 2011, we changed our name from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography to theAssociation for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography to reflect our increasingly geographically diverse membership and to demonstrate our commitment to being an international organization.
- In 2012, we instituted the ASLO Global Outreach Initiative program to provide funds for outreach and education programs outside of the U.S. The program was run again in 2016 and will continue in 2017.
- In an effort to increase membership and participation of aquatic scientists from developing nations, ASLO offers free or reduced membership and meeting registration fees for scientists and students from 152 developing nations.
- Through our partnership with Wiley, via the Research4Life philanthropic initiative, new low-cost or free access to ASLO content is now available for 5,400 developing world institutions.
- A significant number of submissions to our journals, and of our published papers, either emanate from countries outside the U.S., or have at least one non-U.S. author. This trend has accelerated over the last ten years, and it reflects ASLO’s long-standing commitment to the importance of geographic diversity in our content and programs.
- We strive to maintain, and in fact have increased, geographic diversity on our editorial boards, standing committees, meeting organizing committees, and plenary speakers. Our nominations committee works hard to ensure that we have representation from around the globe for ASLO elections for the Board of Directors.
- Two of the six ASLO Policy and Communications Interns have been from outside the U.S.
We welcome your input on these or other initiatives within ASLO to better realize our association’s international dimensions and reach! In the meantime, we do hope to see many of you later this month in Honolulu, and we hope you’ll join us next year at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon and/or the 2018 ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia! For those of you attending the Aquatic Sciences Meeting in a few weeks, please contact us (via reply email) if you have concerns regarding your travel and entry into the U.S. ASLO is heartened by the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling yesterday, and remains committed to fostering and supporting international scientific collaboration with our valued colleagues around the world.
ASLO Executive Committee