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Revisiting NABS Name

Archived 6/15/2011

On 23 May 2011 Society Business Meeting in Providence, R.I, NABS members voted to change the society name from North American Benthological Society to the Society for Freshwater Science (386 'yes', 100 'no', and 12 'abstentions') and journal title from Journal for the North American Benthological Society to Freshwater Science (398 'yes', 82 'no', and 12 'abstentions').

The vote was the culmination of a 14-month long, open process, guided by Sherri Johnson, Chair of the Name Evaluation Committee with committee members Patina Mendez, Steve Francoeur, Randy Fuller, Joe Holomuzki, Lucinda Johnson, John Kominoski, Pamela Silver, Len Smock, Bern Sweeney, and Nancy Tuchman. Implementation of the Society name-change and Journal title will occur from June 2011- May 2012 and will be spearheaded by an ad hoc committee chaired by David Strayer.

The Executive Committee unanimously agreed to retain current stonefly logo, except that the words 'Society for Freshwater Science' will replace 'North American Benthological Society' (26 May 2011 meeting).


Archived Material


In response to the 2009 Strategic Plan, the NABS leadership initiated a process to evaluate the name of our society and the title of our journal. The NABS leadership recognizes that opinions regarding the name of the society and the title of its journal are diverse but is convinced that periodic self-examination and assessment are useful activities to ensure that the society's public face is current and is consistent with the scientific goals and interests of its members.

Therefore, the NABS leadership appointed a Name Evaluation Committee to help the Society find options for the society name that 1) are recognizable by those outside our society, and 2) best represent what the majority of our members do and for the journal title that accurately reflect journal content and scientific and geographic scope.

The Committee is working to involve NABS members in defining what 'we' do and to identify alternative names and titles. The objectives for this Committee are to identify the best-possible alternatives to the current society name and journal title and to provide members with the opportunity to decide via votes.


A multi-step process is being implemented for this purpose.

  1. At the 2010 Santa Fe meeting, a list of key terms was identified that represent the scope of our members' work.
  2. These terms have been consolidated to eliminate redundancy and members were asked to rank their preferences in a survey. "Benthological" and "North American" were options for those who prefer current name.
  3. Preferred terms have been used to draft alternate society names and journal titles. During the Presidential Election, members were asked to rank their preferences.
  4. At the 2011 Annual Business Meeting, members will be asked to vote.
    • They can choose to change the journal title to "Freshwater Sciences" or retain "Journal of the North American Benthological Society".
    • They can choose to change the name to "Society for Freshwater Science" or to retain "North American Benthological Society"

Voting Procedures

Informational Email Messages

The following email messages have been sent to the NABS membership regarding the NABS name and J-NABS title discussions:

NABS 5-year Strategic Plan & J-NABS Editorial Board White Paper (2009)

Strategic Plan

Below are key portions the NABS Strategic Plan relating to the current Society name- North American Benthological Society.

Excerpts from the NABS 5-year Strategic Plan.

Full version of the NABS 5-year Strategic Plan (requires login).

J-NABS White Paper

Below are key portions of the JNABS White Paper relating to the current title - Journal of the North American Benthological Society.

Excerpts from the J-NABS Editorial Board White Paper.

Full version of the J-NABS Editorial Board White Paper (requires login).

Member Contributions


Key Terms Survey

A survey to rank key terms that describe our society was filled out by 426 members in October 2010. The highest ranking terms are being used to draft possible alternative society names and journal titles.

See detailed results of survey of key terms.

Society Name and Journal Title Survey

From December 15, 2010 to January 24, 2011, 357 members participated in a survey to rank alternative society names and journal titles. The proposed titles and names were derived from the rankings of key terms by over 400 members in October.

See detailed results of survey to rank alternative society names and journal titles.

NABSWeb Forum

Member commentary is welcome on the discussion boards on the NABSWeb Forum (requires login).

Contributed Names and Titles

NABS members have contributed names on the NABSWeb Forum, on Questionnaires at the NABS 2010 Annual Meeting, and the NABS Town Hall Meeting 2010. If you would like to contribute more names and titles, please join the discussion on the NABSWeb Forums (requires login).

Key Terms that Describe the Society and Journal

During the 2010 Annual Meeting, a Town Hall Meeting was held. The Meeting was moderated by Dr. Deana Pennington, whose research at University of New Mexico has focused on semantics and interdisciplinary collaboration. She discussed the importance of a name in conveying meaning to those outside a society and asked members to share key words or phrases that define what we do as a Society as we re-evaluate what we want our name to convey about our society.

In order to involve as many members in this Name re-evaluation as possible, a questionnaire was distributed asking respondents to share key terms that describes our Society now and into the future as well as preferences for linking Society Name and Journal Title.

  • Presentation at the Town Hall Meeting and summary of the Key Terms generated by participants (PDF)
  • A questionnaire was distributed during the NABS Annual meeting (joint with ASLO) in Santa Fe, NM June 2010. Summary of the questionaire results (PDF).
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