The National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS)

NCIS welcomes people who are pursuing knowledge in or across any fields whose credentials demonstrate an active involvement in independent scholarship in any field, as evidenced by advanced degrees or presentations/publications. Further qualification is that the scholar not be employed on a full-time basis by an academic institution or other organization in the field to which their independent scholarly activity pertains. Graduate students intent on pursuing independent scholarship, adjunct faculty, and others tangentially associated with academic institutions who do not receive financial support for their scholarly activities are eligible.
NCIS was formed in January 1989 to facilitate the work of independent scholars. NCIS objectives are to:

  • Bring independent scholars together to share scholarly interests and expertise
  • Improve access to research libraries for independent scholars
  • Offer independent scholars information and advice about grants and fellowships and about publishing.
  • Encourage foundations and institutes to open competitions to independent scholars and to include them on review committees
  • Hold conferences and workshops of interest to independent scholars and to the public
  • Offer grants-in-aid to NCIS members and small grants to affiliates
  • Serve as administrator for members applying for grants
  • Encourage information exchange through publications and electronic communication
  • Aid organizations of independent scholars by collecting and sharing organization experience and by publicizing their work
  • Provide information for the creation of local organizations of independent scholars

Thinking of joining NCIS? Here are some of the additional benefits of membership:

  • Members have access to Foundation Center's Grants to Individuals Online, a service that provides access to thousands of grants available to independent scholars, grant writing training, and more.
  • Members are eligible for numerous grants that are limited to members of NCIS.
  • Members receive a Membership Card that can be used at research institutions and other places as a form of identification that indicates their membership in the organization.
  • Members may expand their network of scholars with similar research interests.
  • Members may get involved in the administration of NCIS, write articles or book reviews for our member publication, The Independent Scholar.
  • Members are eligible to have member web pages to showcase their talent or to serve as a tool for self-promotion.
  • Members may request an e-mail address to show their affiliation.
  • Members may order business cards that include the NCIS logo.
  • Members have access to our membership directory, enabling them to connect with other independent scholars in their local geographic area or within their areas of interest.

To learn more about NCIS, visit the About Us page and the Benefits page.  Follow our activities, announcements, and discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and H-Scholar.


JPASS Benefit

JPASS: A New Benefit for NCIS Members

The National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS) is pleased to offer a 50% discount on JPASS –JSTOR’s individual access plans.
JSTOR is one of the most heavily used research and teaching platform for academic libraries. Scholars use JSTOR to discover, read, and build upon a wide range of academic journals that are archived from the very first issue published.
For the first time, JPASS connects unaffiliated scholars—independent researchers, faculty with limited JSTOR access, and anyone working outside the academy—to the 1,600+ scholarly journals in the JSTOR archive on a monthly or annual basis. Designed specifically for those with limited or no JSTOR access,  JPASS acts as your “personal library card” where you pay a fee and get unlimited reading and limited downloading to JSTOR’s rich digital library.
NCIS members can access the annual JPASS for $99—a 50% discount off what others will pay.  A $19.50 monthly plan is also available to those seeking short term JSTOR access.
You can register for your JPASS account in the members only area of this site. Logon to your account first, then go to
You can also view the full title list and learn more about JPASS here: Please note that this custom link will expire 12/31/2014.  To renew your JPASS for next year, we will furnish a new link to guarantee your member discount rate.  Please contact with any questions.


Amendment to the Bylaws Passed

As of its meeting of April 16, 2014, the Executive Committee recommended to the Board an amendment to the Bylaws for immediate action. On April 19, the Board completed its voting, which was unanimous.  Members submitted their votes on May 25, 2013 and the amendment was passed.  

As NCIS grows and changes, the need for new executive positions grows as well. With the participation of the voting membership who approved a new amendment to the Bylaws, NCIS has created its first Membership Officer.


"The Board shall from time to time create a new officer position as needed."



Every Officer, either appointed or elected, is a member of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee is the leadership group that manages the daily activities and business of NCIS between Board meetings

Officers and Board Members comprise the Board of Directors.


The Membership Chair is one of the most important positions that any Board member can hold. Currently the position is managed by a Board member. We feel it is important to elevate the position of Membership Chair to that of Membership Officer, a position on the Executive Committee. This is a position that now exists broadly throughout the nonprofit sector. The Membership Officer would, by default, chair the Membership Committee.

The Membership Officer would work on issues and policies that affect NCIS and would be in charge of membership recruitment and retention. In addition, and just as important, this officer would be working closely with the Communications Officer and continue to collaborate with the Benefits Committee and other committees, as needed.

Membership Officers are far more important positions today than in the past when their responsibilities were far fewer and their positions of seemingly lesser importance. That has changed, and we need to move forward with an outreach campaign to grow the numbers of NCIS members. The Board needs the Membership Chair to play an important role in the management of the daily activities of NCIS, one whose overall responsibility will be the membership, work to spearhead the outreach, and work collegially with the Board to accomplish our very needed expansion.

We have reached the point where we require such an officer for the present and future growth of NCIS.