Council is grateful to The Natural History Museum for providing facilities and to Professor John Taylor for organising today’s meeting. In the year since the last report, the financial situation of The Society has continued to be favourable. Membership is, again, down slightly. The major innovation this year has been the appointment of Tony Walker as Awards Officer; his efforts have resulted in a great increase in the number of awards, research grants, and travel bursaries and in the number of applications. Our finances have enabled us to increase the value of all these awards.
Our membership at the end of 2005 was 198, compared to 213 at the end of 2004 - a net loss of 15 members over the year. We recruited 6 new ordinary members and 4 new student members during the year. At 14th February, there were still forty-six outstanding subscriptions for 2006.
We have held three scientific meetings in the U.K. since last year.
The first meeting, combined with our AGM at the Linnean Society on 28th April, was "Are snail-borne diseases still a threat to global health?" Thanks are due to Russell Stothard for organising this meeting which gave masterly overviews of clinical, parasitological and malacological aspects from eight speakers, and acknowledged the contributions to this field by the late Dr David Brown and Dr Georg Mandahl-Barth. A report, by Russell, appeared in The Malacologist (Bulletin 45).
The second meeting, on Marine Biogeography, was held at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, in September. Katrin Linse is thanked heartily for organising the seven speakers who covered aspects ranging from advances in GIS methodology, the influence of scale in species assemblages, dispersal, speciation, and temporal aspects of divergence. Abstracts appeared in The Malacologist (Bulletin 46).
The third meeting, the eighth annual Molluscan Forum, took place at the Natural History Museum, London, on November 3rd. There were a record-breaking 17 posters and 14 talks from students and new post-doctoral researchers from the U.K. and Europe, and lively and useful discussions. Abstracts and photographs appeared in Bulletin 46. We are grateful to Manual Malaquias for organising the event, with an enhanced compilation of abstracts, and also to Alex Ball, for his on-hand guidance.
Future planned meetings of The Society will include a joint meeting with the Société Française de Malacologie on Île de Tatihou, Normandy on 21-23 September, the ninth Molluscan Forum at the Natural History Museum on 2nd November, and a meeting at the University of Cambridge in April 2007 on Invasive Molluscs.
Journal of Molluscan Studies.
During the past year we have continued to streamline the electronic operation of the Journal. All manuscripts are submitted to the Editor and are sent electronically to referees. Authors receive proofs by e-mail and papers (excluding those with a taxonomic content) are published online as soon as the Editor has approved the second proof. The only stages requiring hard copies and the postal service are copy-editing and proof correction. It is hoped that OUP will complete the scanning of all back issues of the Journal this year, although access arrangements have yet to be decided.
A new contract between The Society and Oxford University Press was signed in September 2005. This is essentially the same as the previous one, dating from 1985, with changes that reflect the online environment and the demands of an increasingly litigious culture. For the first time the production costs of the Journal will include an annual payment of £2000 to the Natural History Museum, to cover expenses and in token recognition of the work of the Editor and a number of the Associate Editors.
Members are reminded that OUP offers free online subscriptions to educational and not-for-profit institutions in the 67 poorest developing countries, and reduced subscriptions to 60 further countries (this second group includes e.g. India, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand). Details can be found by accessing the OUP prices page http://www3.oup.co.uk/jnls/prices/ and clicking on Developing Countries Offer http://www3.oup.co.uk/jnls/devel/.
Circulation for the Journal in 2005 was 203 institutional (of which 28 were online-only and 94 print-only) and 223 membership subscriptions (compared with 213 and 207 respectively for 2004). In addition, a further 1052 institutions have electronic access to the Journal through publishers’ consortia and corporate agreements, compared with 972 in 2004, and 1188, compared with 734 in 2003, have access through OUP’s Developing Countries Offer. This means that the Journal is now available to 2666 personal and institutional subscribers, compared with 1779 in 2003.
The new pricing structure has been fixed for 2005. The cost for a combined print plus online institutional subscription is £260 ($478); print-only subscription is 5% less, and online-only is 5% less again. The cost to The Society of each member’s subscription is £62, which will be charged in 2006.
The ISI impact factor for the Journal in 2004 was 0.411 (compared with 0.486 in 2003) and it stands at number 88 in the list of 112 zoological journals.
Volume 71 contained 46 papers and research notes, totalling 410 pages. The delay between acceptance of a manuscript and electronic publication was less than 3 months, but 7–11 months until printing. Submission of manuscripts dropped by 21% to 107, and the acceptance rate was 42%.
Our board of Associate Editors is now:
Thierry Backeljau (molecular phylogenetics and genetics),
Robert Cameron (ecology and genetics of terrestrial Mollusca),
Simon Cragg (life histories, sense organs),
John Davenport (marine ecology and physiology),
Villie Flari (physiology and behaviour),
Brigitte Grimm (slugs and agricultural pests),
Liz Harper (bivalves),
Ellinor Michel (ecology, freshwater Mollusca),
Peter Mordan (terrestrial Mollusca),
Gerhard Steiner (bivalves and minor classes),
John Taylor (Neogastropoda, mineralogy, ultrastructure),
Mikael Thollesson (Opisthobranchia),
Tony Walker (biochemistry) and
Suzanne Williams (molecular phylogenetics and genetics).
The editor, David Reid, and council are extremely grateful for the hard work and support of all these colleagues.
Under the new title, Issue 45 of the Bulletin was published in August at 20 pages, and Issue 46 in February at 28 pages. These issues covered The Society’s meetings on snail-borne diseases in April, marine biogeography in September, and the eighth Molluscan Forum in November. The production and distribution were trouble free, although the February issue was slightly delayed due to late changes in the meetings programme. The February issue was extended to 28 pages to include the overdue publication of two research reports and the larger than normal Forum as well as meeting reports and Financial Statements. The Editor, Bill Bailey, is grateful to all who contributed items, and to Tony Cook in Ulster who produces the Web version of the Bulletin. Non-member contributors received a complimentary copy.
The Society Website.
Thanks to the efforts of Mark Davies in Sunderland and Tony Cook in Ulster, the website at its new location has become an up-to-date source of information about The Society’s activities, and related events, with over 50,000 visits. The location of half these is known: 12% from the U.K., 5% from American colleges, and over 90 other countries represented. Access was most commonly via a search engine. The Bulletin, publications, awards and membership each scored over 1000 hits, with meetings scoring 982 hits. The website thus continues as a source of information on molluscs as well as a service to members.
The Society’s Awards
The new regulations, managed by Tony Walker have come into full operation. The Annual Award Winner for 2004 , Anna McIvor, described her work in the August Malacologist (Bulletin 45), and seven research grants were awarded, totalling £5362. The winners were announced in the February Malacologist. Some deadlines for submission have been revised; in particular that of the Annual Award is now November 1st. The Education Awards have been advertised in Times Education Supplement, Guardian Education Supplement, and the Mollusca list, and attracted 6 enquiries. Interest is expected to build as news of these awards spreads. Because the awards will be made after projects are completed, no award has yet been made.
Winners of the Annual Award for 2005 and the Centenary Research Grants will be announced later in this AGM.
Officers and Council
This meeting ends my three year term as President. I thank the Officers and members of Council for their support and guidance. Although individuals have been praised for their work on particular projects, we should not forget those whose continuous efforts have contributed to the efficient operation of our Journal, finances, membership, and the adjudication of applications for awards and grants.
Stuart Bailey, President
[Given at the A.G.M., 9th March 2006]