Sunday, 19 October 2014

Promoting BSBI Publications at the AEM in November

John Poland, Chair of Pubs
Image: L. Marsh
To London on Wednesday for the twice-yearly meeting of BSBI Publications Committee aka 'Pubs'.

These meetings may not sound earth-shatteringly exciting but they are essential if we are to make sure that BSBI-supported publications continue to serve the needs of BSBI botanists and the wider botanical community.  

And I had ulterior motives at this meeting of Pubs: there is a bit of a publications theme at next month's Annual Exhibition Meeting, so I hoped to firm up a few details about what will be on offer. [It worked - see below!]

Pubs in action: John (Chair) next to Chris Boon (Secretary)
Image: L. Marsh
BSBI's publications history over decades is pretty impressive (just look at our ground-breaking Atlases and best-selling Handbooks, not to mention our journals) and Pubs is keen to maintain that high standard while ensuring value for money. 

With seven BSBI Handbooks at various stages of development, Committee members had to deal with questions about page lay-out, inclusion of maps, bookbindings... We hope that when a new Handbook is published, you will find it not only a great help in identifying difficult plants with confidence, but also robust enough to use in the field and ideally also a pleasure to own. The illustrations should obviously help you see the diagnostic characters and  ID that plant, but it's nice if they're also easy on the eye!

Chris Preston & draft page from
forthcoming Hybrid Flora
Image: L. Marsh 
So, Chris Metherell joined us at Pubs to offer an update on progress towards publication of his forthcoming Euphrasia Handbook - and he has kindly agreed to give a Euphrasia talk at the AEM and also to run one of his famous Euphrasia workshops, using herbarium specimens from the University of Leicester Herbarium to trial the keys for the forthcoming Handbook. 

Mike Porter (also New Journal of Botany's Plant Records Editor) has agreed to offer a poster about progress towards his Viola Handbook, due out next year.


Clive Stace in the Herbarium, University of Leicester
Image: L. Marsh
But there's more to Pubs than Handbooks and we are gearing up for a major new publication: Clive Stace's Hybrid Flora is due for publication next March, and Pubs member Chris Preston offered an update and showed some sample pages. Pubs thinks this new Flora will "revitalise the way members record hybrids". Clive will be giving a talk about the Hybrid Flora at this year's AEM. 


Richard Gornall (New Journal of Botany Editor-in-Chief) was also in the spotlight at Pubs, offering an overview of the first four years of the journal and laying out options for the future. 

Jane Houldsworth at Pubs
Image: L. Marsh
And then the spotlight was trained on the entire committee, when our Head of Operations Jane Houldsworth gave a presentation on BSBI's strategic plan and we looked at how Pubs contributes to the society's aims, acknowledging our strengths and challenging us on any perceived weaknesses. 

Jane is putting all the committees through this process and it was surprisingly enjoyable, with lots of good ideas flying around. 

Pubs members still talking about publications over dinner!
Image: L. Marsh
Pubs Chair John Poland (yes, he's also the John Poland of Vegetative Key fame) had no sooner closed the meeting and led some of us off in search of a bite to eat than I sidled up to him and asked if he would offer his Plant ID Quiz at this year's AEM. 

I'm pleased to report that he said yes! So if you haven't yet booked for the AEM please take a look here - hope to see you in Leicester next month!