At the end of November we held our 48th AGM, preceded by a series of short talks detailing work done around the world during lockdowns. It was great to see so many of you there. For those who weren’t able to make it, I thought it would be helpful to do a brief summary of what was discussed.
If you missed any of the talks, then they were recorded and you can access them by first logging into this website, and then visiting the AGM page at https://www.geocurator.org/agm2021
As members should hopefully be aware, we are in the process of converting our charity into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), following a vote at last year’s AGM. Unfortunately, even though our application was submitted in the summer, the Charity Commission have yet to process it due to a backlog of applications during the pandemic, which means that we are somewhat in limbo. While the conversion in its basic form is straightforward, there are several things that will happen as corollaries. We have a new vision and mission, which was actually developed in 2019 (https://www.geocurator.org/about-gcg), and a slightly tweaked committee structure which fits more effectively into our new CIO constitution. As well as this, the instigation of the CIO means that we will need a new bank account, and we have been looking at ways to streamline and develop our finances. The plan was to bring all this together and consolidate it at the 2021 AGM, but unfortunately this wasn’t possible. Therefore, the new posts introduced and filled at the AGM (Vice Chair and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator) must be regarded as co-opted posts under the existing charity constitution (and the same would be the case for the Communications Coordinator, but this post is currently vacant). As soon as we have our new CIO charity number, all the pieces will fall into place and we can proceed full steam ahead. While the delay is unfortunate, it is out of our hands and I hope members will agree that we should not let it hinder our progress unduly, and join me in keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Alongside these developments, we have been looking at our membership fees. It has been clear for some time that the most costly GCG deliverable is printed versions of the journal. Printing costs, and especially postage costs, have continued to rise over the last few years, to the point where members receiving only the electronic version of the journal are subsidising members with printed copies to the tune of nearly £10 each. In a nutshell, we propose that the default membership should be £20 for all, with electronic publications only. Those who would like to continue to receive printed journals would pay a supplement depending on geographical location, as postage costs differ depending on global zone. We would also like to publish the journal only once a year, as this significantly reduces stress on the production team and authors, and supports the increasing quality of the publication. For more information, see the presentation and notes at https://www.geocurator.org/membership/547-notice-of-increase-of-membership-fees . If you have any comments on these proposals, please let us know by the end of February 2022. We would like to bring in this new structure as and when we set up our new CIO bank account, perhaps in the latter half of 2022.
The UK DiSSCo (Distributed System of Scientific Collections) natural sciences digitisation scoping project has kicked off in earnest, after several years of discussion. The window for expressions of interest was small, but there may still be time to include more collections. We encourage as many geological collections as possible to get involved, so they have good representation on the national stage and in database designs. See this Blog for more details and don’t delay if you would like to get your collection involved!
For more information on all of the above, please read our Annual Report for 2021 (link) and the minutes (link)
I hope you are all keeping well, and are able to have a restful Christmas and New Year, and as ever, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the committee (https://www.geocurator.org/committee) if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.
Dr Sarah King, 6th December 2021