The Executive Committee is extremely grateful to members for responding so enthusiastically to the consultation exercise held earlier this year about the future distribution model for Quaternary Newsletter (QN). Almost 20 % of the total membership (excluding institutional members) made their views known, either via the online questionnaire or personally to the President and Secretary. A separate report (compiled by the Publicity Officer) detailing the results of the consultation has already been posted to this blog.
The implications of the consultation exercise were discussed at length by the Executive Committee at their meeting in May 2016. Whilst it was abundantly clear that QN is highly valued by the membership, the steer towards an electronic distribution model was unmistakable. Nevertheless, the Exec did not wish to deny those members for whom a hard copy version was important and so agreed the following:
- QN will be available routinely to members as an electronic copy from 2017.
- Downloadable copies will be made available in the Members’ Area of the website, embargoed for one year, after which they will be made freely available on a publically accessible page.
- Members will be notified of the availability of new issues via email (which will include a table of contents). Access to the new issue will be either via a direct link contained within the notification email, or by logging in separately to the Members’ Area.
- Those members still wishing to receive a hard copy will still be able to do so, subject to payment of a subscription surcharge, levied to contribute towards printing and postage costs. The surcharge will initially be set at £10 per annum across all levels of membership, but will be reviewed annually.
- The Circular will also be made available electronically, but from a public part of the website so that QRA news and forthcoming activities can be advertised widely. The notification email for QN will also include a link to the Circular.
- The October 2016 issues of QN and the Circular will be distributed to members via post (as normal) and will also be made available electronically.
- Funds saved from printing and postage will not be allocated for a specific purpose, although the Executive Committee envisage that most monies will be utilized to increase the level of support available to members (and particularly student members) through our awards schemes.
In order for these changes to be actioned, several changes to the website have been put in hand; these will become apparent over the next few weeks. The Executive Committee also intends to make the entire run of back issues of QN available for download. This will occur in phases, as copyright / IPR matters have to be dealt with before issues can be posted online.
Although the demise of a routinely printed copy of QN is regrettable, it is hoped that the transfer to an electronic version will not only improve the quality and reach of articles, but also enable increased support across the Association’s many activities. We thank the membership once again for their input to this consultation and hope that this new model of receiving Quaternary Newsletter will become second nature very quickly.
QRA Executive Committee