The article in the August 2001 issue (Physics Today, page 24) on the decision by the New York Academy of Sciences to cease publication of The Sciences makes it sound like a cavalier decision in which good business practices and member interests were ignored. In reality, there was no financially viable way of continuing to publish it. The decision came after extensive evaluations of the publication in relation to the academy’s mission for the next decade and beyond.

During the past 20 years, advertising, circulation, management, licensing, and ownership options were explored to improve the magazine’s impact and to decrease its drain on the academy’s budget, but to no avail. The magazine business is increasingly competitive and costly, especially for a nonprofit organization. No one likes to see an excellent publication die, but the academy could no longer justify spending nearly all of its discretionary funds on The Sciences while the organization’s primary programs needed resources. While I was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, I had the sad duty to preside over the termination of Science 19XY for the same reasons.

The reallocation of resources will permit greater emphasis on a vigorous renewal of the academy’s principal programs; expansion of communication efforts about the research frontiers represented in the academy’s work; continuing projects on biotechnology, international cooperation in science, economic development, environmental issues, and other topics; and concentration on the academy’s role in interdisciplinary subjects.

These activities are reinvigorating the New York Academy of Sciences as a significant global organization, one I am proud to support as a member of its board. It was no easy decision to stop publishing The Sciences but nonetheless the correct one.