Message from the President
Tell us what you think
Dear ESB members,
I hope it is clear to you all, that the ESB is very much a ‘by the members, for the members’ society. This is why we have low membership fees and spend very little on administrative overheads. In fact due to our expanding size professional administration will be needed sooner or later, as a few of the previous presidents have noted. Nevertheless we are determined to keep administration to a minimum and not move to far from being a friendly society in which you can easily approach council members and tell them your opinion (as people frequently do!). If you are a new member less familiar with those of us on the council please don’t be shy to come forward with your thoughts, you can e-mail us, use the internet forums such as facebook and linkedin or talk to one of us at meetings and conferences. In this newsletter there are two important issues which we would like your input and feedback on in order to establish some standardisation procedures which we intend to be ‘be fit for purpose’ for many years to come.
Standardised abstract submission procedure:
I’m not sure how many of you are aware that the council has been working hard to standardise abstract submission for future ESB congresses. We understand from many discussions with members that although you appreciate the individuality and local flavour of the ESB congress you would like an ESB abstract to be a consistent standardised publication which has a recognised format and repository. On the other hand we don’t want an expensive publication process that would be transmitted to the members in the form of higher congress fees. Since the extremely successful implementation of our new website, thanks to the personalised care and attention given by the web design company; cookandkaye, we are now in a position to expand our online services to include a common abstract submission and reviewing site. I am pleased to announce that this service will be available from the ESB2016 congress onwards. Of course this generates some questions about what an ‘ideal’ ESB abstract should look like; how many words? Which format? Should abstracts be reviewed ‘blinded’ i.e. not knowing the names and affiliations of the authors? Should abstracts later be open access for anyone to view, or for members only? Would you like to see some kind of ‘Transactions’ or ‘Proceedings’ volume that can be cited? We intend to finalise the format and guidelines at our council meeting in Prague and will report on the progress at the general assembly so please give us your input while there is time to implement it at: http://esbiomech.org/welcome-to-the-european-society-of-biomechanics-esbiomech/contact-the-esb/.
I would now like to turn to an issue that a first sight may seem simple and straightforward but has large implications as to how the ESB is run in future councils. This is another issue that many of you feel strongly about and have discussed with us and that is whether the election of council members, and other questions on which the membership votes, should take place electronically (voting from your own personal computer) instead of during a general assembly. Electronic voting has been implemented in many other professional organisations and societies, including professional engineering societies. After an extensive discussion at the last council meeting we feel there are a number of pros and cons to such a change. If we were to implement this change we would have to do so by changing the society by-laws during a general assembly and therefore the meeting in Prague 2015 offers a good opportunity to do this as there will be no council elections in 2015. The new system could then be made available for the 2016 council elections. However there is no sense in us proposing a by-law change if most of the membership is against electronic voting. Therefore I ask you to complete this very short survey about your opinion on electronic voting and if more members are in favour than not we will propose the change at the General Assembly (GA). Please understand that the change will still only go through IF there is a quorum number of members at the GA and there is a majority vote for the change.
The suggestion would be that information about the candidates would be released and voting would take place over a time period of about two weeks before the start of the congress and the polls would close 12 hours before the GA. The results would be announced at the following GA. The pros and cons of electronic voting are as follows (in no particular priority order).
– More members can take part in the voting process.
– Less time will be needed at the GA for voting and vote-counting.
– There will be less risk of ‘human error’ in the vote count.
– Members who wish to stand for council but cannot attend that particular meeting of the ESB at which voting takes place will not be disadvantaged.
– The GA may be less well attended if elections are not taking place.
– If there is less incentive for the members standing for council to be present at ESB congresses there may be less opportunity for voters to interact with candidates and it will be more difficult to assign and handover council roles.
– There may be potential for hacking and voter fraud.
With these benefits and drawbacks in mind please complete this short survey (only 4 questions) via this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LB8QZW3 to indicate your opinion on electronic voting.
See you in Prague in July
The results of the Prague abstract reviewing process have been announced and we look forward to an exciting programme. We are pleased to announce that 14 perspectives talks have been accepted and we look forward to those delegates in depth presentations on ‘hot topics’ within the ESB community. This is only our second congress in an odd year and the introduction of yearly congresses was quite a controversial move at the time, but now we can see that there is a strong interest in a yearly ESB congress and we look forward to the annual congress going from strength to strength. The local organisers have committed to enable as much discussion time as possible at ESB 2015 so we look forward to interesting debates in a beautiful surrounding.
Gwendolen Reilly, Sheffield 2015