Message from the President

In our last newsletter, I outlined some thoughts on the topic of scientific dissemination and the rapidly evolving publication landscape, with a shift from traditional subscription-based journal publication towards varying alternatives for open access publishing of our work. Open access is becoming more and more a requirement stipulated by research funding bodies, therefore it is particularly relevant and timely to explore these options as a society, however many questions remain on the “best” model of open access publication.

 

In this context, it is my pleasure to inform you of the affiliation agreement between the European Society of Biomechanics and the journal International Biomechanics of the Taylor & Francis Group. With this agreement, International Biomechanics becomes an official journal of the ESB. The scope of the journal is strongly aligned with the research interests of our members, and the scientific topics routinely presented at our annual meeting.  The editorial board features several society members; therefore the ESB’s interests are implicitly well represented. Furthermore, the affiliation agreement specifically provides terms for ensuring active participation of the society on the editorial board, and the flow of opinions back to the publisher. The journal employs a full open access model, with authors retaining full copyright for their article.  The affiliation agreement provides for a 50% reduction in the article publishing charge for ESB members, for up to 100 accepted articles per year. Overall, the ESB Council found this a promising affiliation to pursue, to explore new open access options for its members, and we hope that you will also benefit from the incentives offered through this new agreement.  We see this new affiliation as complimentary to our long-standing cooperation with other leading journals in the field, and encourage our members to support each of the ESB-affiliated journals.

 

This new development is a part of our strategy to better understand the requirements of our society members for scientific dissemination, and to help guide future developments wherever possible.  To ensure that any new policies we may initiate take the views and needs of our members into consideration, we aim to establish and maintain a dialogue specifically on how we as a society can ensure the most effective means possible to communicate and discuss the results of our scientific work. At the ESB conference in Seville, the society will host a (free) lunchtime mini-symposium on Monday, July 3rd, focusing on current options and future directions in open access publishing. The session will open with three short presentations from publishers representing unique open access models in their respective journals.  Each will present a short summary of their journal aims, their publishing model and their vision for the direction open access will go in the next decade.  This will be followed by an open discussion with all participants, to highlight the pros and cons of current models and to identify future needs, from the perspective of those who are actually writing the papers. We look forward to the enthusiastic participation of many ESB members in order to provide important feedback to the society and to the publishers on the most effective ways to meet the demands of researchers in the future. A separate announcement with registration link will be sent shortly.

 

I alluded in the last newsletter to the varying formats of scientific meetings. In recent months, I have had the opportunity to attend a few more meetings which again presented a strong contrast in their structure, their scope and, ultimately, their underlying message.  Our society has reached a size that precludes an absolutely intimate setting of a “fireside discussion”, but at the same time I am encouraged that our annual conference maintains a format that places the emphasis on the presentation of the work of many young researchers. Several notable meetings have drifted, either deliberately or not, towards a format with a substantial component of experts inviting peers to populate mini-symposia, with the younger researchers competing for an ever-reduced number of presentation slots, and those slots being further compressed to new configurations such as “Quick-Fire”, “Short Talk”, “Teaser”, “Commented Poster” etc.  I do not deny the educational and mentoring value of senior researchers providing an overview talk; with experience comes also the ability to contextually locate the work in a very complex field. With the long-standing keynote lectures and the more recently introduced, and well-received, perspective talks, I think that the ESB has achieved an excellent balance with its annual conference. However, I hope that we will always reserve a substantial proportion of the schedule for young researchers. The ESB annual conference has, for me, always been a special opportunity for student members to grow into their evolving and expanding careers, and to find a community of direct peers in which they feel they can present and discuss their work openly, plan new research and form new collaborations for their promising futures.

 

I am looking forward to meeting many of you again in July in Seville.  The organisers have done an excellent job and have put together an interesting and diverse scientific program. The long, warm evenings will provide an excellent opportunity to extend discussion beyond the formal structure of the meeting. Remember to bring sunscreen and light clothing!

Stephen Ferguson