Independent Scholar Wins MacArthur Foundation Award

Excerpted from The Washington Post article, September 17, 2014:
Pamela Long, 71, an independent scholar based in Washington, works from home and almost never answers her phone. So when she received an e-mail from the MacArthur Foundation asking her to call, she thought it was for an interview about someone else who had been nominated. Then she was told she had won. In the days that followed, her initial reaction — shock — slowly gave way to relief.
As a historian not affiliated with a university, she never knows how she will afford to do her work — research on the science and technology of 15th- and 16th-century Europe — from year to year. So far she has supported herself through grants. “But I don’t think you can get a grant every year for the rest of your entire life,” she said on a video call from Rome, where she is studying archival material for a book tentatively titled “Engineering the Eternal City.”
“Therefore I didn’t quite know how I was going to continue. Even though I was going to continue because I’m obsessed with what I’m doing, so there’s nothing that could really stop me. But it’s a wonderful thing because I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

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.

2015 NCIS Conference Bulletin

NCIS is planning a two-day conference in New Haven, Connecticut, for 2015! We hope to see you at roundtables, presenting papers, sitting on panels, networking with your NCIS colleagues as well as sharing tours and dining and a bit of sightseeing.

But we can't accomplish this without you. NCIS events such as this are member-driven, so it’s up to you to make this conference happen by volunteering to work on conference planning and implementation.

Without your committed participation, there will be no conference. A few essential hours a month from each of you will create a memorable conference in a fascinating city with a great university - Yale. Please read through the descriptions of the committees and let our Volunteer Liaison know on which you'd like to serve.
The Program Committee creates the conference's bone structure: the program. A separate affiliated peer-review group selects the conference papers and panels, which means that you can work on the Program Committee and still submit a paper or panel. Ultimately, the committee's work culminates in the program brochure that attendees need to guide them through the conference. The Program Committee are the architects of the conference.
The Local Arrangements Committee deals with the myriad practical requirements for holding a conference. To the members of this committee fall decisions about lodging for attendees, meals and coffee breaks, what venues we'll require and what spaces we'll need there, what necessities to have in place like AV/sound/podium, and much more. This committee needs detail-oriented people who aren’t afraid of the nitty-gritty.
The Publicity Committee is responsible for reaching out to the world and inviting them to the conference. Flyers, press releases, etc., will be the beginning of the work. This committee will form slightly later than the other two, but it is a vital effort and we want to sign you up now. Your communication skills are what we need.
Simply put: the conference won't happen without you.
We need to hear from you promptly - by midnight MONDAY, MAY 12 - to move forward.
To volunteer for committee service, please contact our Volunteer Liaison: Janet Wasserman,

NCIS Nominating Committee Seeks Nominations for the Board of Directors

The Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations for Board candidates. Our Bylaws state:
“Candidates shall be selected by a Nominating Committee from a pool of NCIS Members by operation of one of the following:
a) proposed by members of the Nominating Committee
b) self-proposed
c) proposed by other NCIS Members.”
We have several open seats on the Board for appointment and one seat for election in November. You may volunteer yourself, and/or you may propose another NCIS Member. Please check first with the persons you want to nominate that they are wiling to have their names put forward. Nominees will be contacted personally and we will explain the nomination process and discuss what Board service entails.
Please respond to:
Janet Wasserman
Chair, Nominating Committee
Secretary, NCIS

Call for Images

We are currently redesigning the NCIS website and would like to invite members to submit images to be featured on the website's future Home page.  In this way we hope to further promote the work of NCIS members.  Such illustrations may include copyright-free images related to your research, images of your publications, and photos from conferences and other speaking engagements.  These images may then be linked to your NCIS web page (public profile).  

Please submit only high-resolution (300 dpi) JPEG images in an email attachment to

Membership Renewals

Renewing your membership online is easy.  
1. Login to your account with your username and password:  
Be sure to login with the same email address you originally used to register your account.
If you've forgotten your username or password, email

2. Once you are logged in, go to and select "Renew."  Complete your payment information.
For questions or to pay by check contact

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