FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
CAN I JOIN NCIS?
I’m not in the USA – can I still join NCIS?

Absolutely! Although NCIS is registered as a non-profit in the USA, you are welcome to join wherever you live. NCIS membership is truly international: we currently have members in 24 countries, on every continent except Antarctica!

I teach part-time at a university. Am I still eligible to join NCIS?
Yes, so long as you are not in a secure, tenured post. The term “independent scholar” includes the many precarious academics (variously described as adjunct/contingent/faculty, sessional or hourly-paid lecturers etc.) whose numbers continue to grow, as academic institutions increasingly rely on often poorly compensated part-time scholars who receive few benefits and little job security. https://www.ncis.org/membership-levels-qualifications

I’ve never held an academic post. Can I still join NCIS?
NCIS members include those who have not held, or have never wished to hold, a formal academic post. Membership candidates are examined on a case-by-case basis, and assessed for intellectual contribution, scholarly rigor, and independent status prior to acceptance. https://www.ncis.org/membership-levels-qualifications

I don’t have a PhD. Can I still join NCIS?
Certainly! We have emerging scholars without PhDs who are Full members (some have many publications, for instance.) You are eligible to join as a Full Member if you can demonstrate a history of commitment to independent scholarly work through research, publications or conference participation. If you have not yet published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at academic conferences, The Membership Committee may suggest that you apply for Associate Membership rather than Full membership at this time.

What’s the difference between Full and Associate Membership ?
The Membership Committee may suggest that you apply for Associate Membership rather than Full Membership if you have not yet published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at academic conferences. While Associate membership is designed primarily for graduate students and Early Career Researchers (ECR), the Membership Committee also recognizes Emerging Independent Scholars, such as those who may be changing career paths. Membership candidates are examined on a case-by-case basis, and assessed for intellectual contribution, scholarly rigor, and independent status prior to acceptance. https://www.ncis.org/membership-levels-qualifications

I have a PhD but teach in a high school rather than a university. Can I still join NCIS?
Absolutely! Our members have taken many paths, including teaching in high school, colleges, prisons. You can apply at Full or Associate level, and the Membership Committee may recognize you as a Full Member if you have in fact been publishing and presenting your research.

I am an active researcher but I don’t earn my living through research. Can I still join NCIS?
Of course! NCIS members frequently earn their living outside academia, as writers, consultants, translators, copy editors, or in industry and the commercial sector while pursuing their research as independent scholars. Applications are examined on a case-by-case basis, and you can check out the criteria at https://www.ncis.org/join-ncis

I have a PhD but haven’t yet published much. Can I still join NCIS?
Certainly! You can apply for Associate Membership, which is designed primarily for graduate students and early career researchers (ECR). As your publication record evolves, you can apply to the Membership Committee to be considered for Full Member status. Once upgraded, you will be able to access grants and other benefits only available to Full Members. (Your time as an Associate Member will be counted towards your grant eligibility period.)

 
I’ve left/retired from my post secure academic post. Can I still join NCIS?
Certainly! Our membership includes an increasing number of scholars walking away from the pressures of academia, as well as  emeritus professors who would like to pursue their research independently but find their title does not afford them the benefits they previously enjoyed (e.g. affiliation, journal access, university email address, and financial support for research or conference attendance). https://www.ncis.org/membership-levels-qualifications

 
ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS
I follow NCIS on Facebook. Can I use NCIS as my affiliation?
NO!!! Absolutely not. Membership of NCIS opens doors, purely because of the rigor of our membership vetting procedures. Following/liking us on Facebook is a great way of joining the IS community, but is an expression of interest rather than a validation of your academic credentials. Claiming to be a paid-up member when you are not would amount to fraud.

When can I describe myself as a Member of NCIS?
Only when you have paid your dues, been vetted, and had official confirmation of your acceptance for Full, Associate or Life Membership. Any enquiries should be addressed to membership@ncis.org

I don’t have a university affiliation. Can I use NCIS as my affiliation?
Yes, provided you are currently a fully paid-up member at any level. Due to the rigor of our membership vetting procedures over the last 30+ years, NCIS is accepted as an affiliation by journals, conferences etc. We recommend that you describe yourself thus:

 
Role: Independent Researcher (or) Independent Scholar               
Affiliation: National Coalition of Independent Scholars

 
THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP
What are the benefits of NCIS membership?
Many and various! As well as the sense of community and mutual support of others – so important in addressing the isolation and identity issues often cited by ISs – NCIS also addresses the challenges of independent scholarship in a very concrete way. These include providing an institutional affiliation; validation of your academic status; helping you secure ethical approval for your research; financial support through grants, prizes, facilitating third-party grants, and generous discounts on journal access, referencing software etc. Members can also request a personalized business card template , and letters of introduction to get you into archives, libraries etc. A full list of member benefits can be found at https://www.ncis.org/membership-benefits

My research requires ethical approval. Can NCIS help?
We are currently looking into NCIS becoming an independent agent with the IRB in the USA, and can also help you source ethical approval for other countries. Keep an eye on the site, and f you have any queries please address them to us at info@ncis.org

 
Can you help me with research expenses?
As a Full Member (or an Associate Member subsequently upgraded to Full Member status) you can apply for an NCIS Research Grant to help with expenses such as travelling to archives/libraries/other resources essential to your research. Eligibility criteria can be found at https://www.ncis.org/grants

 
Can you help me with expenses so I can present my research at an academic conference?
Presenting at academic conferences is crucial to your development as a scholar, so we offer Conference Support Grants. You can apply if you are a Full Member (or an Associated Member subsequently upgraded to Full Member status). Eligibility criteria can be found at https://www.ncis.org/grants

I’ve been offered some financial support for my research, but the funder needs to go through an institutional administration. Can you provide this?
We sure can! Because NCIS holds a not-for-profit status, we can administer pass-through grants. We process the enquiry, receive the grant funds, deduct a very reasonable commission (usually 10%) and forward the balance to the grantee. Recipients of pass-through grants must be members of NCIS at Full or Associate level, but can apply immediately after membership has been granted. https://www.ncis.org/grants

The NCIS site mentions ‘limited benefits’ for Associate members. What benefits can I access as an Associate Member?
As an Associate Member you will enjoy most membership benefits, but are not eligible to apply for NCIS grants unless you are upgraded to Full Membership, when your time as an Associate Member will be counted towards your eligibility period. Associate Members can however enter the Elizabeth Eisenstein Essay Prize, ask NCIS to administer third-party (pass-through) grants, publish in our peer-reviewed OA journal The Independent Scholar and much more. https://www.ncis.org/membership-benefits. A handy chart comparing the benefits enjoyed at each level of membership can be found here.

Contact us

National Coalition of Independent Scholars