President’s Strategy Plan: Key Objectives and Approach
July 2019-July 2021
Following the election of FSBI Officers at the Annual General Meeting at the University of Hull, July 2019, the Society activated a revised constitution, whereby the Honorary Vice President and Honorary President would serve for 2 years in office, officers. In view of the reduced duration of the Presidency, and following an FSBI Council Strategy meeting in April 2019, several priorities, identified below, will underpin my term in office (2019-2021).
1. To extend initiatives to internationalise the Society;
2. To enhance the size and scope of the FSBI membership base, especially within the non-academic sphere;
3. To reinstate a 2-year lead in for advance planning of annual FSBI symposia, and to endorse recent strategies aimed at widening their appeal to the fish and fisheries community;
4. To stimulate stronger engagement with scientists, stakeholders and end-users in fish and fisheries science, through improved FSBI web-site functionality and establishment of a proactive FSBI Communications Committee, focusing on publicity, FSBI symposia, Societal interactions, outreach, social media and membership engagement.
5. To streamline the efficiency of decision-making in FSBI Council and Committees through electronic exchange and voting outside the December and April Council meetings, where required.
6. To facilitate, in conjunction with the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board and FSBI Publications Committee, further development of the Society-based journal, Journal of Fish Biology (JFB), through major expansion of editorial board size and activities, article types and special issues, and proactive commissioning of top-rated authors.
Further context to these strategic priorities (2019-2021) is presented below.
1. Internationalisation of the Society
While it is self-evident from the FSBI membership base (currently 612 members), with representation from Europe, Africa, Australasia, North America, South and Central America, the international standing of the Journal of Fish Biology (JFB) and distribution of our grant holders, I wish to extend and strengthen our activities and contributions internationally. In regions of the world where we are currently under-represented such as South East Asia, Japan and China, and with a dominance of European members (currently 79% of members), opportunities elsewhere will be extended. Foremost among the initiatives will be the establishment of a new scheme of FSBI Postdoctoral International Travelling Fellowships (PITF), launched in early 2020. Two PITF will be available each calendar year: an Outgoing Fellowship from the British Isles to worldwide destinations, and an Incoming Fellowship, from international members to the British Isles. The extension of support for post-doctoral researchers completes the life cycle of FSBI funding opportunities, encompassing undergraduate summer internships, fully-funded PhD studentships (two per year), early career scientists and beyond, through to recently retired fish and fisheries scientists. Additionally, our first internationally sited FSBI annual symposium is due to take place in July 2021, in the historic University City of Leuven, Belgium. Further initiatives include the geographical expansion of representation in the JFB Editorial Board, and continued contributions to global events such as an FSBI-sponsored Theme Session at the World Fisheries Congress in Adelaide, 11-15 October 2020, and ongoing representation at symposia of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) and Japanese Society of Fisheries Science (JSFS).
2. FSBI Membership base
All academically related learned societies depend upon their membership base, to promote Society objectives, to engage in key activities, funding opportunities, and to contribute to an identifiable community. Moreover, the membership helps to shape the coherence and standing of the Society in the wider world. Due to global trends of a decline in Society membership, new guidelines governing personal data (General Data Protection Regulation, GPDR), and some prior technical issues constraining efficiency of membership renewals on an earlier FSBI website, there remains scope for expansion. Our new FSBI website, will continue to simplify membership renewals, with several initiatives. These include the attraction of ongoing low membership rates, extension of initiatives such as reduced membership at annual symposia and increased support for funding applications and exchange with our new FSBI Administrator (Jane Smith: email@example.com), working with our established membership team (Brabners). In addition to the FSBI newsletter, a new electronic membership newsletter and dedicated FSBI-website membership area will soon to be launched.
3. FSBI Annual Symposia
The major annual Society event is the FSBI symposium, held normally, during July each year. The FSBI Council chooses the themes through a process of selection, from the membership, and wider fish and fisheries community. Currently, the FSBI provides generous funding allowance, currently at £15,000 GBP, and the events typically include a range of invited speakers, oral and poster presentations, occasional dedicated workshops, as well as exhibitions from leading organisations, including the JFB publisher, Wiley. In view of the importance of our annual symposia, we aim to prioritise advance planning for up to 2 years, to ensure appropriate professional organisation, scientific representation and opportunity, especially for early career researchers. I am pleased to confirm that the venues and topics, for FSBI 2020 and FSBI 21, have been secured, further details will soon be released. Importantly, our first international-based venue, outside the British Isles, will take place in the historic University City of Leuven, Belgium, in July 2021. Additional expressions of interest, beyond 2021, are warmly invited. Please contact, the FSBI administrator, Jane Smith, in the first instance: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. FSBI Communications Committee, publicity and outreach
A recent Council-approved FSBI standing committee, the FSBI Communications Committee will hold its first meeting, in the autumn of 2019, Chaired by the Society Honorary President. While the detailed remit and portfolio of the committee is decided by its membership, in broad terms, the aim is to coordinate and formalise the FSBI outward-facing activities. These will include promotion of our membership base and activities, associated Society publicity/social media, support for our annual symposia, to strengthen our engagement with scientists, stakeholders and end-users in the fish and fisheries sector, especially in highlighting to strengthen interactions with other salient learned Societies, and together with the publications committee, explore and extend, Society-based publications.
5. FSBI Council Decision Making procedures
Traditionally, the two annual Council meetings, held in December and April, are opportunities for reporting from FSBI committees on activities and outcomes, as well as more strategic discussions, concerning the mission and development of the Society. In addition, there is an annual general meeting, held in July each year that reports on overall Society-related activities, and is the opportunity for election of Council members and FSBI officers. While such procedures will continue, on occasions, unexpected issues emerge, or opportunities that are time-limited, where it would be expedient to consider recommendations and for decisions to be made. While the FSBI officers make some decisions, occasional ad hoc procedures, in line with the FSBI constitution, would enable decisions and progress to be made out with, Council meetings. Such continuity, serves additionally, to promote engagement of Council members and the Society membership, as well as to maximise impact, where appropriate.
6. Journal of Fish Biology (JFB) - our Society journal
JFB continues to be a leading international journal, encompassing a breadth of fish biology and fisheries science. As a Society-based journal, it is available on option, to our membership, as well as enjoying a broad representation, globally. Following the appointment in June 2019, of a new Editor-in-Chief, Professor Michel Kaiser, and a drive dictated by shifting funding mechanisms and opportunities in publishing, significant changes are planned for the journal. From the beginning of 2020, we will implement a simplified structure for the editorial board, consisting of an editor-in-chief, and two senior editors, and with the goal of expanding the number of assistant editors threefold. The aim is to streamline processing of manuscripts, with an improved author experience, as well as promoting greater equity across the Board, with enhanced representation across research areas, nationality, stage of career and gender. New article types will be introduced, with a more proactive quest to commission authors from timely fields, and with an ongoing commitment, to improved author and referee experience. Much of the coordination and structural procedures of peer review is in the hands of the Editor-in-Chief, editorial board and our publisher, Wiley. Engagement and exchange among the Journal, Wiley and the FSBI, will continue via the FSBI publications committee that include representation of the main players.