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  • 12 Jan 2021 2:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Max Planck Digital Library and Portland Press sign Read & Publish deal enabling unlimited open access in the Biochemical Society’s journals

    The Max Planck Society is the latest organization to sign-up to the Biochemical Society and Portland Press’ pilot Read & Publish transformative deal. This provides Max Planck researchers with unlimited open access (OA) publishing and ‘read’ access across the entire journal portfolio. The Max Planck Society joins more than 50 other institutions based around the world, from Tokyo to Texas, participating in this Read & Publish scheme.

    Portland Press is the Biochemical Society’s publisher and its pilot Read & Publish scheme, offering unlimited OA publishing, first went live in 2020 as a means of making more of its published research and review articles openly available to researchers everywhere. This Read & Publish agreement guarantees all corresponding authors affiliated with the 86 Max Planck Institutes worldwide with OA publishing of their articles by default and at no additional author-facing charges.

    The three-year deal, 2021-2023, repurposes former library subscription funds to support open access publishing, instead, ensuring a move away from the traditional subscription model towards a sustainable publishing model based on open dissemination of research.

    Professor Richard Reece, Chair of Portland Press Board, Trustee of the Biochemical Society and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent, says: “The Max Planck Society and Biochemical Society are highly aligned in principles and thinking around transitioning to sustainable open scholarship. We are extremely pleased to be piloting this new model with the Max Planck Society and look forward to publishing work from Max Planck scholars on an OA basis in support of the advancement of the molecular biosciences.”

    Dr Ralf Schimmer, Head of Information Provision at the Max Planck Digital Library, said: “Through their commitment and thoughtful strategy, the Biochemical Society is paving the way for learned societies toward a sustainable and irreversible transition of scholarly publishing to open access. We are delighted to implement this new agreement in full alignment with the Max Planck Society’s open access transformation strategy and the OA2020 Initiative, for the benefit of our research community and scientists everywhere.”

    Portland Press publishes seven journals covering different areas within molecular biology and the life sciences; two are fully open access (OA) titles and there are five hybrid journals where content is usually published behind a paywall, with authors either choosing to pay an article publishing charge to have their work published OA or benefitting from default, charge-free OA publishing where their institution has signed up to a Read & Publish pilot.

    To support and accelerate a transition to OA, these pilot Read & Publish deals provide an innovative alternative to the traditional subscription business model in scholarly publishing. The Biochemical Society and Portland Press are committed to a sustainable transition to a more open scholarly publishing landscape and our Read & Publish initiative builds on the principles set out in our Open Scholarship position statement.

    Visit for more information.



  • 28 Jul 2019 12:34 PM | Anonymous member

    BIG recently partnered with the British Science Association to run a session alongside the annual BIG Event to explore how science engagement practitioners can make better use of their facilities and resources to support equality, diversity and inclusion.  You can read the blog here.

  • 22 Jul 2019 10:25 AM | Anonymous member

    Talking Maths in Public is the UK’s national maths communication conference, and takes place every two years in locations around the country. TMiP 2019 will take place at the Isaac Newton Institute at the University of Cambridge on 29th-31st August, and will be a chance for people who work in communicating and promoting maths and related topics to meet others who communicate maths, and to participate in training, workshops and discussions.

    Tickets for TMiP 2019 cost £115 for all three days, including lunch and refreshments each day and a conference dinner on Thursday evening - as well as the full programme of workshops, talks and informal networking activities. Details of the event are available on our website at, and if you have any further questions about the event, you can contact the organisers by emailing

    BIG is offering a limited number of bursaries to BIG members who would not otherwise consider attending TMiP, covering the cost of a ticket to the conference (accommodation and travel not included). This could include those who work in more general science communication but would like to bring out the “M” in their STEM activities. If you wouldn't normally include maths in your work, or are unable to attend for other reasons, this bursary is for you.

    This Partnership Bursary is a pilot activity which supports our commitment to working with other networks and organisations that are relevant to BIG members' interests. 

    Find out more here

  • 17 Jul 2019 2:20 PM | Anonymous member

    This year's Josh Award 2019 winners, Ben Nicholson and Frederike Gerstner being presented with their trophy at the BIG Event in Edinburgh by Judith Baird from the Science & Industry Museum, and Helen Featherstone, Chair of BIG.

  • 28 Jun 2019 2:25 PM | Anonymous member

    Exhibit Prototyping: Skills Days for BEGINNERS, 2 days

    1-2 October 2019, 10am -7pm both days


    Do you have an idea for an exhibit or demo that you'd like to make, but feel that you don't have the confidence, the skills or the facilities to make it? In this two day skills event, we'll show you how to use hand tools and woodworking machines to turn your idea into a useful prototype.

    In this Skills Day offering, we’ll spend two days in the workshop of the Edinburgh Tool Library working on our own projects. This event is aimed at people with little or no workshop experience, but independent working will be required. There will be experienced staff available to help you get the most out of the workshop and the two days. (If you already have some experience, check out our Intermediate-level event in July.) 

    The workshop is equipped for woodworking; drilling and hand-sawing metal is also possible. Don't worry if you haven't used some or all of the woodworking machines before - everyone will be given an induction on safety and machines’ capabilities.

    Preparation: Although this event is aimed at people with minimal experience, everyone should come with an exhibit or a demo idea in mind. You'll get the most out of the event if you do as much of the thinking as possible beforehand, so that you can get stuck into making straight away. We will discuss your idea with you in advance so that we can advise on any details that you're unsure of. This will help you arrive with an idea that has the best chance of being completed in the time available.

    In addition to tools and machines, we'll provide the basics: a collection of reclaimed timber, wood screws, and all the tools you'll need. For other materials and components, Screwfix and B&Q are not far away, but it will save you time if you do your shopping in advance.

    About the session leader: Ben Craven

    Ben is a vision scientist by training, but now makes his living teaching Product Design Engineering at Glasgow School of Art, and gentle maths and stats for the Open University. He also does freelance work in informal science communication, and arranges efficient networking events.

    Find out more or BOOK HERE

    £100 for members, £130 for non-members (Lunch is on your own)

  • 21 Jun 2019 1:46 PM | Anonymous member

    We are recruiting for a freelance Membership Services Manager for an initial 3-year period starting this September. The time commitment will be approximately 8 hours a week worked flexibly and according to the needs of our organisation. Visit for more info

  • 11 Jun 2019 4:43 PM | Anonymous member

    The Beetlestone* Award Committee is delighted to announce that for 2019 this prestigious Award which recognises “leadership and legacy in the field of informal science learning” is being given not once, but twice.  Such was the field of candidates that the Committee decided that two people – contributing to the field in very different ways – both deserve an Award. Exceptionally, therefore, two Awards are being given.  This is not a question of ‘sharing the prize’; each recipient is equally deserving of full recognition.

     Helen Featherstone is Head of Public  Engagement at the University of Bath,  and the current chair of BIG.  She has  also worked in science centres and as an  independent consultant and  researcher. The assessors felt that “her  many expert contributions to the field  and her enthusiastic advocacy” have  already “built a solid legacy which will  continue to facilitate the sharing of expertise and raise standards in public engagement with science.”

    Ian Russell runs his own company, Interactive Science Ltd., and is both a science communicator and an exhibit designer.  The assessors pointed out that he has “forged his own brand both nationally and internationally, and is widely respected”, and added thathis seemingly inborn spirit and drive to share the joy of science is beyond admirable”.   These qualities have inspired generations of young people and many other professional communicators – a significant legacy.

    Colin Johnson, chair of the Beetlestone Award Committee, says “In this second year of the Award we received another impressive field of candidates, and I am delighted that we are able to recognise the very significant contributions that, in their different ways, both Helen and Ian are making to the field.  My very warmest congratulations to them both.”

    Each Award carries a personal cash prize of £500, an additional bursary to facilitate dissemination of the holder’s vision and legacy (which is an obligation on the awardee) and free registration for the next BIG conference.  The next call for applications/nominations will be early in 2020 and you can find out more here.

    *John Beetlestone (1932-2017) was the founding director of Techniquest, the UK’s first purpose-built science discovery centre. This Award has been made possible through the generosity of his family and friends.

  • 03 Jun 2019 10:18 AM | Anonymous member

    We'd like to invite you all to come and tell your uplifting, sad and sometimes laughable tales of when scicomm stops being polite...and starts getting real. We will be creating a safe space where you can share your stories, either anonymously in advance or in person. You might be a complete newbie, someone with decades of experience, or anywhere in between. All are welcome, including non-BIG delegates. The event is FREE and there will be snacks and drinks available for purchase. 

    Tuesday, 16th July, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. 6pm for 6:30pm-9pm

    Speakers include, but are not limited to: 

    • Kirsty Ross, University of Strathclyde
    • Sam Langford, Glasgow Science Centre
    • Hana Ayoob, freelance Creative Producer and Trainer
    • Saeeda Bhatti, STEM in the Gorbals
    • Laura-Alexandra Smith, Science Connects
    • Siân Hickson, Institute of Physics

    There will also be walk-up slots available on the night. 

    Email if you'd like to submit a story anonymously to be read on your behalf.

  • 23 Apr 2019 7:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Deadline for applications: 15th May, 11:59pm 

    BIG is offering a few bursary places to attend the BIG Event in July. This is ideal for people working in and around science communication, who think they might benefit from making some more professional friends by attending BIG’s three-day annual conference in Edinburgh.  

    The bursary covers registration fees to attend the BIG Event 17-19 July at Dynamic Earth, plus limited travel and accommodation support. BIG members who are in the first five years of their professional career and have not attended a previous BIG Event are eligible to apply. If you’re not a member of BIG, don’t let that stand in your way – join at  

    If you fit this bill, then we’d love you to apply for a bursary to come along. The BIG Event brings together 150+ STEM engagement professionals from across the UK and beyond to help you build your skills, grow your contacts and explore what’s working for others in your field of work. 

    You can read all the detail about the conference and the bursary application process here.

    Don’t forget – you must be a BIG member to apply so leave time to join if you aren’t a member already. 

    To apply for the Bursary click here.

  • 16 Apr 2019 1:33 PM | Anonymous member

    There are just 5 working days left to claim the early bird discount on attending this year’s BIG Event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. Save a whole £40 on the conference fee if you register before 23th April (and then pay by the end of the month)

    The BIG Event 2019 is a three-day conference offering an unmissable opportunity to squeeze the skills and ideas out of all the STEM engagement people you can in a short space of time. The conference is relevant for designers, presenters, educators, students, front of house staff, evaluators, educationalists, funders, and anyone involved in public engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Many people working in the STEM engagement field have little opportunity to cross paths with their peers, so the BIG Event was designed with exactly this in mind.

    More than 40 workshops, discussions, shows, and even a sprinkling of sessions that simply can’t be categorised. Find out more by viewing the draft programme online here.

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