Building identity

by Diane Cushman, NCFR Executive Director

The future of family science

In 2007-08, NCFR revisited its identity and after extensive discussions with members decided to remain the National Council on Family Relations. There were other options including the International Council on Family Relations or just NCFR, but members held firmly to the name that has identified the organization since 1948 when it was changed from The National Conference on Family Relations.

Over the next few years the NCFR logo was updated, the three journals were redesigned to achieve a uniform look and attribution to NCFR, and the website was updated. The logo has been adapted to meet the needs of the state and student affiliates and the family life education certification program. Our look is uniform and identifiable.

In the winter 2013 issue of Report, I talked about the future of family science and how there was less clarity and certainty around what we call our field--in part because it lacked a uniform identity. Members have continued to discuss this issue with interest, and as a result we will move forward into formal work aimed at resolving the identity crisis of the field as a whole.

We are in the process of inviting members who have participated in sessions on this topic at NCFR annual conferences to a meeting in Minneapolis this summer. Among other items, the agenda will include a discussion on what to call our field. We might also talk about what to call university programs, and while I don't envision a prescriptive approach I do see NCFR stepping into the role of making a recommendation for the identity of the field. This is a very exciting time for NCFR, and we look forward to sharing the outcome of this work and getting your valuable input along the way.

Speaking of identity, what about yours?

Have you ever had a name change? How many ways does your name appear in print--full first name, nickname, middle name or initial included or not included? Are there others who have exactly the same name as you? The point is we use different forms of our name for different reasons and even in different stages of life, and we can be confused with others who have the same name. This can be a problem if you are applying for a federal grant and the funding agency is trying to find all your previous works in order to accurately assess your application. Or if you are trying to compile a comprehensive and exhaustive list of the citations of your published works. ORCID, which debuted in October of 2012, is intent on solving this problem in scholarly communications.

ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a number that uniquely identifies authors. ORCID, the non-profit organization that offers this free registry, derived the software from that used by Thomson Reuters for its ResearcherID system.

The number you get is unique and stays with you for life--like a social security number only used exclusively for your body of scholarly work. Each number is structured like a URL. Your ORCID number can be added to your ScholarOne account information thereby allowing any works published in NCFR journals to become part of your ORCID portfolio. Eventually ORCID will facilitate a sort of electronic vitae that will contain all the citations of your works and even databases to which you contributed. Check it out at .

Inclusion and diversity work moves into the next phase

In March the NCFR Board Inclusion and Diversity Committee met in Minneapolis to begin to frame a plan of action. While data from the IDC member survey is still being analyzed, enough is known to begin to formulate strategic goals and objectives. The committee will submit a draft plan to the Board of Directors in June and a final plan in November.

Policy work update

We are making progress toward our goal of developing a comprehensive strategic plan for policy work that includes the development and distribution of briefs. The Policy Advisory Committee has been formed and has been working with Jennifer Crosswhite and me to determine the process to be used to create the briefs. Top on our minds are member involvement and transparency. We will reach out to members via Section listservs and other NCFR communication tools and are very eager to have your input on topics, authors and reviewers for the briefs.

2014 conference in Baltimore

The 2014 Conference Program Committee convened in Minneapolis in late April to put the final touches on plenary and special sessions and share their proposed Section academic programs. There were 632 submissions this year, the second-highest number in more than 20 years (last year's 75th anniversary conference tops the charts). The improved submission process has resulted in more submissions going to the appropriate sections and may quite possibly be the reason why the review scores are higher than in past years. Register for the conference and book your rooms now, and join your colleagues Nov. 19-22 in Baltimore.