Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from the Physiological Society

  The Physiological Society, as a member of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, supports its response to this inquiry. In addition to this, the Society would like to explain its own situation regarding its contribution to the physiological community.

  The Physiological Society is a learned society and a registered charity, and publishes two scientific journals. Unlike our sister society in the USA, we have no submission fee or page charges for authors and the majority of the funds obtained from subscriptions to the journals is therefore required to support the editorial and publication process. The remaining income from journal subscriptions is returned to the Society to support the charitable goals of the Society, ie promotion of physiology through supporting scientific meetings, assisting public understanding of science and recruitment of scientists through our publications for schools. The Society also assists the training of young physiologists through postgraduate workshops and specialist courses. It is only able to support all these other activities through the income derived from the journals.

  The Society has approximately 2,000 Members from around the world but the membership rate is not sufficient to cover these other activities, and there are no other ways to raise revenue for this dissemination of information to which the Society is committed. Other learned societies are undoubtedly in the same position.

  The Society is, however, committed to open access as far as is possible and one year after publication we allow completely free access to our electronic archives. We also allow immediate free access to institutions in designated developing countries.

  Loss of income from journals subscriptions would have a severe affect on the Society to fulfill its charitable goals or indeed publish the journals at all without charging the authors significant submission and page charges. In our view this could deter submission of good papers from those scientists who do not have sufficient resources.

February 2004

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