Nonprofit Societies Should Be Open To Scrutiny By Their Members And By The Press

We live in a society in which public, private, and nonprofit institutions co-exist in a competitive environment. Ironically, in the world's most for-profit free enterprise society, nonprofit institutions abound. There is an endless variety of them recognized by our tax laws. Most nonprofits are tax-exempt. They range from religious to educational to professional societies. In exchange for this status, they must give up some of the privileges of being private or commercial. Public corporations,

Eugene Garfield
Jun 10, 1990

We live in a society in which public, private, and nonprofit institutions co-exist in a competitive environment. Ironically, in the world's most for-profit free enterprise society, nonprofit institutions abound. There is an endless variety of them recognized by our tax laws. Most nonprofits are tax-exempt. They range from religious to educational to professional societies. In exchange for this status, they must give up some of the privileges of being private or commercial. Public corporations, as distinct from privately owned enterprises, must disclose to their stockholders information on salaries and other compensation of their executives.

As implied recently in the Washington-based newsletter Science & Government Report (Dec. 15, 1989, page 1), professional societies have not always been completely forthcoming about compensation for their executives. In some cases, the only way journalists are able to obtain this information is to request IRS Form 990, which must be filed annually with the Internal...

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