UPDATE: thanks to new signups today, the OAS is well past
200 approaching 300 members now.
The OAS is an international membership society for the purpose of studying, discussing, and publishing about topics in atmospheric related earth sciences, including but not limited to meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, and climatology. It is open to anyone with an interest at the associate level, but student and full memberships also are offered.
The purpose of the society is to foster quality atmospheric science and atmospheric science communications through outreach, member education, member publishing, and electronic media.
And then the OAS went quiet. Some critics said it was nothing more than a flash in the pan. I can understand how they and others might say that given the circumstances but, in the world of the “climate wars” when it comes to skeptics trying to do something official that might be recognized, things always take far longer to get done because roadblocks get thrown in your way by people that don’t want skeptics to be recognized on any level. Such is the case with the Open Atmospheric Society. By operating in quiet mode, many of the critics who actively challenge such applications thought it was probably dead, and didn’t bother.
What many don’t know is that this effort started all the way back in the summer of 2012, and it has taken this long for everything to finally get done. I’m sure many readers are well aware of the roadblocks that have been thrown at organizations that have applied for a 501(c)(3) status by the Obama administration and the Internal Revenue Service. There have been some horror stories related to some of those organizations, and while this didn’t exactly qualify as a horror story, there were a few hoops that we had to jump through and many delays in the process.
One of the things we had to do was to establish a track record before we could be considered for approval. Our initial application was rejected after several months because the Internal Revenue Service would not approve the 501(c)(3) status on projections alone (apparently models don’t cut it with them, only hard real numbers). We actually had to show that we had a membership and were operating. Therefore last year we had to solicit for membership and run the organization a few months essentially in “quiet mode”, while the IRS made their determinations. This of course gave ammunition to critics who said that the organization was either dead from the start or was just a flash in the pan. Neither is the case, as acting director, I was simply navigating the Red Sea of Tape alone.
I’m happy to report that the OAS has now received its official certification letter of 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, and we can now conduct business just like any other tax exempt organization. It has been a long time coming, and given the ahem, hostile climate…
…we’ve had to deal with, achieving this has been a proud moment for me, and I hope for the other charter members as well.
We achieved the status in April 2015, and I held my breath and waited a while, expecting some challenge to the status from somebody who trolls such approvals with a political intent, but no challenge came. So, at ICCC10 in June, the OAS announced that the organization had achieved the status, and a few new members joined then. There was also a story about it at The Daily Caller: Skeptics Found Scientific Society To Escape Journals That ‘Keep Out’ Dissenters. Still no challenge.
Now that it has the needed status, hasn’t been challenged right after approval, and won’t become a personal tax liability for myself and Joe DeAleo who set up the idea with me, the organization is ready to roll and we can actively begin recruiting new members as well as setting up our Board of Directors.
During the past year I have privately solicited a few people to be on the board of Directors, to help steer the organization. I have three applications in hand, but more are needed to fill out the seats on the board as described in The Charter.
These are some of the initial goals, they will be updated once the board of directors is convened.
To provide an organization that offers an alternative to the highly politicized organizations that exist now.
To provide a voice for those who are not well represented now.
To offer statements and positions regarding atmospheric science as it relates to current news, where appropriate.
To provide a scientific journal where publications can be made where no politically motivated peer review interference occurs. Papers must be replicable and pass on merit, not on a viewpoint.
To offer a safe place where ideas may be exchanged and examined without fear of retribution.
To foster open science, and open science publishing accessible to professionals and to the public.
To provide assistance in producing science that can be understood by the public.
To offer member to member networking and assistance.
To be paperless, easing the burden on the environment,and without need for a central office all business and publications done online.
To be true in its methods, its publications, and to its members.
So, I hope you’ll consider joining, or if you have already joined, renewing your membership. For those that wish to help guide the OAS, please consider applying for the Board of Directors. Once applications are in, a vote by members will be convened to elect members.
Thanks to everyone for their consideration, and most important, thanks for your patience while I navigated the Red Sea of Tape.
[This story has been updated to add some new links and the note about increased membership]