The QRA Executive is considering a move to electronic distribution of Quaternary Newsletter (QN) and Circular from 2017 onwards. This issue has been raised several times at committee meetings in the past, but for a number of reasons we have not felt able to successfully implement this strategy. The key considerations are as follows:
QN is a tangible benefit of membership. This is especially the case for members who, for various reasons, do not engage regularly with the QRA via its other activities such as meetings or as grant recipients. Personal preference also seems to divide the argument: some members simply prefer to read QN as a physical document, while others do not mind.
Finance. The cost of printing and postage was around £8700 in 2015 (and has been closer to £12k in previous years). Although some copies would still have to be printed for institutional and copyright members, and there will be some additional website hosting costs, if most members chose to read QN electronically then the not-insignificant savings could be used to support other QRA activities.
Editorial and aesthetic. An electronic version of QN would provide increased flexibility, enabling us to include colour figures at no charge and allow an easier, more immediate means of distribution (at present, the delay between collating each volume and members receiving QN – through printing and posting – is about 3-4 weeks). It would also allow the inclusion of reports that are a little more detailed than the current page restriction allows.
- QN goes electronic for most members from 2017 onwards. Existing members will be asked to ‘opt-in’ to receive hard copies if they still wish to do so. New members will not be offered this option.
- New issues of QN will be announced by means of the existing weekly QRA email (and in the ‘News’ section of the website). Current issues will be available initially as open access and then archived in the Members’ Documents section.
The Executive Committee will discuss this issue at its next meeting in May 2016, with a view to making a decision. We would very much welcome input and comment from members by the end of April, by whichever means are convenient, including email, letter, or via a short online response (link below). The Executive Committee will report back to the membership over the summer.
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Click here to take the survey (Survey Monkey): QRA Consultation Survey
President: Professor Peter Coxon
School of Natural Sciences, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Secretary: Dr Mick Frogley, Department of Geography, Chichester 1 Building, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 6DL