The first question I am typically asked when I encourage a colleague to join the EATCS is "What is in it for me?" This question is natural and easy to answer (see here), but I believe that it is the wrong question to ask. As someone who has lived a fair number of years in sunny, socialist Scandinavia and a closely related country, I have grown into thinking that a better question would be "What's in it for the TCS community?" To my mind, the answer to this second question is even clearer.
The EATCS is a scientific association that, compatibly with its limited resources, does much for TCS.
- Its Bulletin has been open access for over ten years. Anyone can read it for free, unlike many other bulletins and newsletters that are only available to members of professional societies. This is made possible by the support of the EATCS members for the benefit of everyone.
- The proceedings of ICALP have been open access since last year. The association lost money by deciding to go for open-access proceedings, but its council felt that the time had come to serve the community in this way.
- The EATCS provides financial support to conferences and young researcher schools, and sponsors prizes and awards that put TCS research in the limelight. When I was the president of the EATCS, I was surprised to receive sponsorship requests from the organizers of conferences that were officially "sponsored" by incomparably larger and richer professional societies. The EATCS provided a small financial sponsorship to some of those events, as part of its mission. Now I have a better idea of why those conferences were asking for EATCS sponsorship.
- Conferences that collect EATCS membership fees receive some of those fees back from the association. I have come to understand that this is not the case for other professional societies.
If you have any questions or doubts, air them as comments to this blog post.