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Report on the 43rd Video Council Meeting of AAPPS
Nobuko Naka
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Report on the 43rd Video Council Meeting of AAPPS

Nobuko Naka
AAPPS Secretary

The 43rd Council Meeting of the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) was held online from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. KST (Korea Standard Time) on August 4, 2020, using the Webex online conference system prepared by the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP). The participants were Jun'ichi Yokoyama (president), Hyoung Joon Choi (vice-president), Nobuko Naka (secretary), Keun-Young Kim (treasurer), Gui-Lu Long (ex-officio member as the former president), and council members Jodie Bradby (Australian Institute of Physics), Xiu-dong Sun (the Chinese Physical Society), Tao Xiang (the Chinese Physical Society), Ruiqin Zhang (the Physical Society of Hong Kong), Mio Murao (the Physical Society of Japan), Akira Yamada (the Japan Society of Applied Physics), Woo-Sung Jung (the Korean Physical Society, APCTP), Kurunathan Ratnavelu (Malaysian Institute of Physics), Rajadeep Singh Rawat (Institute of Physics Singapore), and Fu-Jen Kao (the Physical Society located in Taipei). The meeting was observed by Tou Teck Yong (Malaysian Institute of Physics) and Eunjeong Lee (AAPPS liaison officer).

(1) President Yokoyama reported the presence of 15 council members out of 17 members, and the quorum was met. He opened the 43rd Council Meeting and welcomed all the participants. The agenda was adopted as prepared by the president. The absence of Meng-Fan Luo (the Physical Society located in Taipei) and Nguyen Quang Liem (Vietnam Physical Society) was confirmed.

(2) The president introduced the new secretary, Nobuko Naka. She and the other participants introduced themselves in the alphabetical order of the country/region names.

(3) Treasurer Keun-Young Kim reported the financial status of AAPPS, reviewing all the transactions in 2017-2019. He explained that in 2017 we started with a carry-over of KRW 49,000,000 and the balance as of December 31, 2019 was KRW 57,000,000, which is a surplus. The current balance as of August 4, 2020 is KRW 62,000,000 (USD 52,000). The major income comes from AAPPS's membership fees, which are USD 500, and which was paid by nine societies in 2019. For the AAPPS Bulletin (AB)'s publication, the Chinese Physical Society, the Physical Society of Japan, the Japan Society of Applied Physics, the Korean Physical Society, and the Physical Society located in Taipei each contributed USD 5,000 in 2020 as well as from 2017-2019.
Treasurer Kim also explained the support from APCTP, which has provided USD 72,000 for Council and Ordinary General Meetings since 2013, USD 85,000 for the Asia Pacific Physics Conference (APPC) since 2004, USD 99,510 for AB since 2012, and USD 67,000 for division activities since 2017. In total, the contributions of USD 323,510 were gratefully appreciated. Furthermore, DACG (Division of Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Gravitation) supported the domain fee of USD 113 for the next five years. President Yokoyama mentioned that the web site of DACG is under the aapps.org domain, which makes this first contribution from the division possible.
Gui-Lu Long confirmed that the donation from the Leo Koguan Foundation was not included in the balance but in a separate account. President Yokoyama expressed his thanks to Long for his many efforts to attract donations last year.

(4) Fu-Jen Kao, the chair of the selection committee of the CN Yang Award 2020 reported the selection processes for the three final candidates who are awardees for this year: Jinsong Zhang (Tsinghua University, solid-state physics), Zhiqing Liu (Shandong University, high-energy physics), and Nobuyuki Kobayashi (Osaka University, nuclear physics).
After introducing the statistics on the country/region and specialties of the 23 nominees, Kao explained the three criteria for selection: novelty and originality, independence, and impact. There were three rounds of selections. The first round was the 50 % screening in each specialty or division to select 11 candidates, which was conducted by scrutinizing the reviewers' reports and referring to SCOPUS citations. In the second round, the top five semifinalists were selected by voting and they were considered as leading candidates from each specialty. In the third round, three finalists were selected out of five semifinalists by a vote. These two votes were conducted after lengthy discussions in a web meeting and in emails with participation of committee members consisting of council members of AAPPS, representatives from each division of AAPPS, and APCTP scholars. Kao suggested a couple of recommendations for the future. First, each nominee should provide basic statistics including citations, impact factors, and first/corresponding author papers as references for better screening. Second, nomination rules should be announced more effectively to the community. Those who have the right to nominate are not only the divisions of member societies but also participants of the most recent APPC. Third, citations for the awardees should be provided by the recommending societies or scholars with a description of why they should be awarded, which would become available to the public in the award ceremony. Fourth, the current evaluation form does not require reviewers to provide sufficiently critical opinions. More critical review opinions, rather than neutral ones, should be given to make the selection clearer for the top three slots among all of the excellent nominees. Finally, Kao thanked those who participated and made contributions in the selection process.
Upon request of Jodie Bradby, it was noticed that the number of female nominees was four out of 23 nominees. They were not selected as the finalists because of field conflicts. Kao suggested to leave a memo on this issue for the next selection and mentioned that we might consider extending the 10-year period for female candidates with an extra yield if candidates would have children or would take care of family. Rajadeep Singh Rawat expressed his concern regarding whether or not there were enough committee members for uniform evaluation covering the widespread expertise of the nominees. Kao responded that reviews were made not necessarily by the committee members. Reviewers from throughout the world, including Europe, were appointed by the committee members, so that each candidate's specialty was matched with the expertise of a reviewer. Although the committee members this year were much broader than the last ones, even stronger professionality and diversity might be stressed in selecting the next ones. The selection of committee members is very important in order to make the award very reputable. Gui-Lu Long suggested to follow the four-year round of Nobel prize to emphasize certain field branches every year, and to encourage female physicists even after maternity leave. Mio Murao pointed out that the number of female nominees would not be enough and we should somehow encourage women. On the other hand, name-blind or gender-blind selection would lead to a fair decision based on purely scientific qualifications. Tou Teck Yong asked if there is a report on how the selection committee supports the three finalists, not only in terms of their history but also regarding future potential impacts. Kao answered that the ranking is not necessarily proportional to the citation number but the finalists were chosen by votes. Kurunathan Ratnavelu added that each committee member read the reviewers' reports and checked out publications and track records to confirm outstanding contributions. Kao also mentioned a rule for fairness that each nominee should not be evaluated by a reviewer from his/her own country/region or own society. The high number of votes is a sort of justification of the confidence from committee members across fields, indicating that the winners were unanimously approved. President Yokoyama summarized that we might ask respective societies to nominate a female candidate if possible. He said that we hope to have a female winner in the next or another year. He also thanked Chair Kao for his hard work, and Kao returned thanks to Yokoyama for his support. The three finalists were finally approved by the council as recipients of the award. The award ceremony will be held online, probably combined with an APCTP workshop of the respective fields. The event is planned to be uploaded and broadcast in YouTube. The winners are expected to give a lecture in an online AAPPS colloquium and are expected to provide an article for AB.

(5) Gui-Lu Long, the new editor-in-chief of AB reported on the status of AB. He explained that the number of citations in Google Scholar and SCOPUS is still small and there is no link to "view abstract" in Web of Science. These situations should be improved. He pointed out that as a flagship publication of our association, AB should be a world-leading physics journal, but AAPPS performs poorly compared with its counterparts in America (AIP) and Europe (EPS). It is important to write more research highlights and to increase the quality of review & research papers to promote the influence of AAPPS and AB.
The editorial board has now been rearranged to combine the scientific committee and current editors. The new organization will comprise editor-in-chief Gui-Lu Long, deputy editor-in-chiefs WS Jung and YB Sheng, senior editors, and editors. Long also suggested to restructure AB's sections to meet database requirements. In particular, research highlights will be strengthened by introducing highlight results from AB and member society publications. Other measures, such as creating annual best paper awards, adding brief news items, and replacing the institute in the Asia Pacific region section with an annual article about physics institute rankings (i.e., creating an AB ranking) were proposed. Considering the definition of the impact factor (IF), non-citable items, such as news & views, research highlights, short commentaries, are not indexed.
Concerning cooperation with publishers, three options were presented. As Wiley costs too much and Springer-Nature does not fit with AB, Long prefers ScholarOne as it offers a modern electronic submission and review system, which would take the place of Eunjeong Lee's hard work on handling submissions. A call was made to the council and AAPPS members to contribute their best papers to AB and to promote AB as much as possible.
Rawat agreed with the plans and confirmed the third option for cooperation with a publisher. Ratnavelu mentioned that it is time to start but he was curious that the plan is aiming at high-level applications than conference papers like APPC14. Yokoyama voiced his concern that people do not recognize AB as a carrier for publishing original research papers. Long answered that review & research papers are to be included and publishing four articles per issue meets the minimum requirement for database citation. Kao suggested to bundle journals of AAPPS member societies, some of which already have high IF and show good performance, under the umbrella of AB. While individual journals do work independently without conflict with AB, AAPPS would recommend a very good scholar for a seat in each member society journal to exchange information. Long responded that research highlights are for this purpose, and that we should at least open an avenue for publishing high-quality work in a high-impact journal based in the Asia Pacific region, which is now lacking.

(6) President Yokoyama reported the present status of division activities. The three existent divisions are mostly organizing online activities this year. During APPC14, two discussion meetings were held toward formation of new divisions. A proposal regarding the creation of the Division of Condensed Matter (DCM) is expected to be submitted by the next council meeting in December. Establishing the particle physics division is now also in preparation. The three divisions [Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), DACG, and Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP)] each have been receiving support of USD 10,000 annually from APCTP. For 2021, Yokoyama suggested to distribute USD 20,000/3 to each of these divisions and USD 10,000 to DCM because new divisions should receive more in the initial stage. The suggestion was seconded by Kao, Xiang, and Jung, and then unanimously agreed.

(7) Kurunathan Ratnavelu, the chair of the local organizing committee of APPC14, gave a brief summary of the conference. In total, 497 papers were submitted including posters and there were more than 500 delegates from 23 countries. The Chandrasekar Prize of the DPP was awarded during the ceremony dinner. For the proceedings, 85 papers were accepted while three were rejected. The proceedings are nearly at in-print status, thanks to the efforts by the co-editors. Ratnavelu appreciated the support from AAPPS and APCTP.

(8) Reports from the President: President Yokoyama explained that the Asia-Europe Physics Summit (ASEPS) has been postponed to August 2021 in Manchester and it will be held in association with the condensed-matter division conference of EPS.
He participated in the annual meeting of the Physical Society located in Taipei from February 5-7, 2020. Prompted by the student presentation award in the meeting, he proposed the establishment of a joint award between XPS (X=each country/region) and AAPPS, which might induce higher recognition in a CV owing to the internationality of such an award. Tao Xiang wondered if all the winners of XPS are automatically awarded. Yokoyama clarified that only a part of the winners, with a special rank, would receive the joint prize. Ratnavelu and Rawat introduced prizes in their own societies. As the first step, Yokoyama will start to investigate which society has what kind of awards.
Yokoyama also mentioned he was planning to attend the annual meeting of the Physical Society of Philippines that was planned for June 2020 but that it was cancelled due to Covid-19. He also mentioned that he wished to attend as many member societies' meetings as possible during his term. (Note added: The meeting of the Physical Society of Philippines will be held online in October.)

(9) Ruiqin Zhang explained that the next council meeting was originally planned in Hong Kong, but it will be held partially online or fully online depending on the Covid-19 situation in December. The date will be fixed by doodle poll soon.

(10) President Yokoyama closed the meeting.


AAPPS Bulletin        ISSN: 2309-4710
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