AGU Privacy Policy

—Adopted by the AGU Council 10 December 2002 on behalf of the membership [Revised May 2004]

As constituents of AGU we value the ability to set the level at which we will share information about ourselves. AGU gathers information at headquarters and in external offices, primarily those of editors, about members, authors, and all others who participate in any way in the Union’s activities. Every Union officer, volunteer, staff worker, and member who has access to these data is charged with respecting the privacy of those who provided it and is to act in accord with the following policies.

Why personal data are collected

Addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, other contact information, and information related to scientific interests are collected from AGU constituents in the course of providing services such as subscriptions, meeting registration, and submission of articles, and in various other interactions. Such information is required to complete the individual order or deliver the service. Other demographic information, such as education and employment data, is collected when individuals apply for membership or are suggested for various positions in the Union. Except as described below, these data and any other information of a personal nature, such as gender, are collected on a purely voluntary basis; furthermore, they are not shared or used in such a way that an individual is identified. Principal uses of these data are for internal assessments of AGU programs and the membership; additionally, these data, in a consolidated form, may be used in publicly distributed statistical descriptions and studies of the AGU constituency.

AGU members may add, correct, or update their personal information through a form on the AGU Web site or to Member Services by phone at : +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800-966-2481) or by e-mail at

What personal data are made available

AGU’s online Membership Directory contains basic contact information and membership data including Section and Focus Group affiliations. It is provided to facilitate personal communication between members only. The downloading of large numbers of records is forbidden. This is a service restricted to members and requires a personal log-in; members share the responsibility for the security of their data with others and help ensure it by keeping their access codes confidential. The activity in member accounts is also monitored to identify patterns inconsistent with permitted personal use. A member account may be temporarily inactivated if it appears that it is being misused.

Postal mailing lists may be exchanged with other scientific societies for one-time use. Such exchanges are made only if the material to be sent is deemed beneficial to the AGU members to be contacted and advances the scientific missions of both societies. Such exchanges are reviewed by Section officers, staff and/or Union officers, depending on the nature of the message and the distributions they are to be given. Lists for approved mailings may be selected by scientific specialty, geographic location, and/or student status. AGU will occasionally mail or e-mail a notice on behalf of another organization to selected groups of AGU members. Such mailings are subject to the same review process.

Electronic mail addresses are not shared

Other demographic data are needed from time to time to help understand such matters as membership trends, and gender and age differences with respect to reaction to programs. These data are retained to provide a statistical overview of the Union so that the leadership can better understand how the population is changing and consider how to meet changing needs. Constituents who elect to provide such data may be assured that it will never be made available publicly in any form that identifies individuals.

Opt out

Any individual may decline to provide information requested by AGU. In this case, AGU will be unable to provide services for which such information is needed for security and/or identification purposes. A member may request not to be included on any list to be used by an organization other than AGU by sending an e-mail to asking to be excluded from mailing lists exchanged with other societies.

Members may suppress the publication of all or selected elements of their personal information in the Membership Directory, and subscribers to any AGU online service can stop the service by sending an e-mail message to, telephoning +1-202-462-6900 (toll free in North America: 800-966-2481), or writing to AGU, 2000 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009.

It is the intent of AGU policies to ensure that members are kept informed but do not feel burdened by what they receive as a “benefit” of membership. The officers of the Union and staff welcome comments from members as to the effectiveness of e-mail and mail as a communication tool on any specific case.

Keeping data about individuals secure

Sensitive demographic information is stored in a separate, secure database that is not accessible via the Membership Directory.

Credit card information provided to AGU via its Web site is transmitted via a secure server with commercial encryption software. Those not able to use a secure server may opt to place the order another way, via phone, fax, or postal mail. To comply with credit card company requirements, AGU stores certain information for 3 years from the date of the transaction. When requested by the card holder, AGU will retain credit card information for future specified uses.


A “cookie” is a file a Web site stores in a user’s computer for future reference. AGU uses cookies to improve some of its services. Individuals may set their browsers to reject cookies; however, there are AGU services, like meeting abstract and journal article submissions, that will not function unless the user accepts the AGU cookie. For example, when a user returns to that AGU service, the cookie will identify the user as a previous visitor. Information supplied through an AGU cookie is used only by AGU and not shared with others.

Links to other sites

AGU links to other Web sites that are not controlled by AGU. A link from the AGU Web site is not an AGU endorsement for any company, organization, or individual. AGU is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of those sites.