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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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Quaternary Newsletter – Membership consultation on
The QRA recently asked members’ opinions
regarding a move to an electronic distribution of Quaternary Newsletter. The proposal is outlined in full in a previous
post on this website, and in QN. The rationale for this move was largely
financial, with printing and distribution of QN being a large part of the QRA’s annual outgoings. Electronic
distribution of QN would also
allow longer-format articles, colour printing and ease of access to archived
The QRA Exec therefore petitioned members
to participate in a Members’ Consultation. The chief methods involved an electronic
survey via Survey Monkey and solicitation of emails and letters sent directly
to Secretary and President of the QRA. The details of the consultation were announced
in the QRA Circular, in QRA mailshot
emails and on the QRA website; the results were compiled by Bethan Davies (QRA
Brief summary of responses
The online survey received 231 responses; an additional 14
email/letter responses were received by Peter and Mick. This issue
is something that has clearly galvanised and enthused the QRA membership.
Overall, the responses were overwhelmingly
(84.4%) in favour of moving to an electronic distribution of QN. Some of the membership, however,
enjoy reading a physical copy of QN and
see this as a key benefit of their membership. A small minority even threatened
to withdraw their membership if they were no longer to receive a hard copy of QN. However, most (70.5%) of
those who would prefer a hard copy would be prepared to pay a small additional
opt-in surcharge (£5 to £10 seems a common figure that people would be prepared
With regard to the distribution of an
electronic version of QN, 68.7% would
prefer it to be fully open access, and 31.3% would prefer it to be restricted
access (i.e. restricted to a Members' Area of the website). Common concerns
- Seeing QN as a key benefit of membership to the QRA; making QN open access
will negate this benefit and may lead to a drop in subscriptions;
- Reports for recipients of QRA
awards being released publicly ahead of full peer-reviewed publication.
Many members suggested making back issues
of QN publically accessible one
year after publication to circumvent these issues.
Some members were also concerned that they
would not read QN if they had to
navigate through to the Members’ Area of the website to obtain it. They would
prefer to be emailed a PDF attachment of the newsletter (or for it to be fully
In terms of the funds released by
electronic distribution of QN,
most members were happy for the funds to be used at the discretion of the
committee, or to support awards and in particular postgraduate activities.
The survey responses are detailed below for
following data take into account both the online and the emailed/written responses.
Bethan Davies, Publicity Officer