SCS Membership = Waste of Time

The Society for Modeling and Simulation International (formerly the Society for Computer Simulation, SCS) have to be the most inept "professional" organization that I have ever encountered.

My first dealings with SCS was some 8 or 9 years ago when I first took out membership with them. It took something like five months before I heard anything from them - and just a couple of months after that, they were sending me Past Due notices on my following year's membership - despite never having billed me or sent me renewal details. I stuck it out with them for couple of years, but in the end, I'd had enough and canceled my membership.

Now the SCS do produce a few publications that are worth reading, particularly the journal Simulation, which covers the whole spectrum of simulation-related activities. Since I'm developing a new simulation software system, I thought it was about time that I re-established a relationship with SCS and so, back in November of last year, I took out Premiere Level membership at a cost of US$195. Not cheap, but - according to their web-site - you get the following:

  • Electronic access to the monthly membership publication called M&S Magazine.
  • Printed version of M&S Magazine delivered quarterly.
  • Printed version and electronic access to the new archival journal SIMULATION: Transactions of The Society for Modeling and Simulation International, as provided by Sage Science Press.
  • Unlimited access to the new SCS online publications archive.
  • Discounts on the full range of SCS products (e.g., books, conference registration, etc.).

Well, the most recent online edition (Volume 4 Number 1) of the M&S Magazine referred to is dated January-March 2005. Also, It seemed to have been issued quarterly, not monthly. I have not yet received a printed copy. In fact, I have received nothing from them in the mail at all! The site does, however, have an electronic Newsletter. Sadly, the most recent is the Winter 2005 edition... By the way, electronic access to this magazine is available even if you're not a member of SCS - just go to http://www.modelingandsimulation.org/.

I can get electronic access to Simulation, but - again - nothing in the mail to date. Personally, I find electronic access to such journals to be inferior to reading the printed copy. Firstly, if you're looking for something specific, you're generally more successful using Google than searching a single journal's archive. Secondly, reading journal articles electronically is time-consuming and tedious - I'd much rather settle down in a comfy chair with a strong coffee to read a printed copy.

I have e-mailed them numerous times, and left messages on their answer machine, asking them what is going on with my membership - but I have yet to receive any kind of reply whatsoever. No doubt the first time that I do hear from them, it will be to remind me that I have yet to pay my dues for 2008...

So, I'm not exactly happy with the SCS right now. In over 8 months, all I've received from them is a membership number and a web-site password in a single e-mail. Now I understand that they're staffed by volunteers, but if you're charging those kind of membership fees, you ought to back it up with some kind of customer service.

Comments

Great Customer Service Too - Not

Update: I finally got somebody at SCS to reply to my e-mails and phone calls (I had to resort to sending an e-mail to their executive director) and was promised a check with my membership refund in their next check-run. That was over four weeks ago and I have still not received my refund.