Events from 2017

Annual General Meeting – fall in love with spiders

22 November 2017

Robert Whyte, honorary researcher in arachnology at the Queensland Museum and co-author of A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, published by CSIRO, will be guest speaker. Community Meeting Room, ground floor, Brisbane City Council library, Brisbane Square. Refreshments at 3:30 PM, meeting starts 4 PM sharp until 6 PM. The public are welcome.

Evidence-based policy – One-day seminar

21 November 2017

A professional development day open to all who wish to strengthen their skills in building scientific and other evidence-based knowledge into decision-making and policy.

The course will not be heavy in technical scientific content.

A flyer with a provisional program is available. A page has been reserved for contact details and other materials.

Pumped Storage Hydro

20 October 2017

A Lunchtime Forum featuring Dr Matthew Stocks, 12 noon for 12.30-1.30 pm at 111 George St, Brisbane. Register via Eventbrite.

Inexpensive, Reliable and Clean: Queensland’s Electricity System

20 October 2017

A workshop in the series “Science for Decision-makers” will be held in 111 George Street, on 20 October, from 2.00 – 4.30 pm plus refreshments. The event will consider the implications of Dr Matt Stocks’ earlier forum then debate a framework for Queensland’s electricity supply. Open to the public and free of charge. Register via Eventbrite.

A new electricity regime for Queensland

8 September 2017

After the Lunchtime Forum, the Society will join with the TJ Ryan Foundation to co-host a workshop to examine how the electricity regime might be reformed, in consultation with the Department of Energy and Water Supply.

The workshop will run from 2.00-4.30 pm. Anyone with an interest in electricity, competition policy, technology, emissions and intergovernmental relations is encouraged to register.

Can economics catch up with science? Lunchtime forum on electricity

8 September 2017

Can a competitive market adequately accommodate the technology that is driving change in electricity supply?  On 8 September, Alan Pears AM, who has advised the Victorian Government and APEC Ministers on electricity reform, will outline emerging trends in electricity generation and distribution.

Seminar Room 3, Ground Floor, 111 George St Brisbane. 12.15 for 12.30 sharp, half hour presentation followed by open discussion until 1:30 PM, then refreshments.

Registration is free and open to the public. Register via Eventbrite for catering purposes.

The Lunchtime Forum will be followed by a deliberative workshop.

Closed and open access to scholarly knowledge

29 June 2017

An afternoon with Sir Timothy Gowers

World-renowned British mathematician and open access campaigner Sir Timothy Gowers featured at an event co-sponsored by the State Library of Queensland on 29 June at the State Library’s Auditorium.

About 70 members and guests of the Society along with staff and volunteers from the State Library of Queensland enjoyed the event.

We were also honoured by the presence of the State Librarian, Ms Vicki McDonald, who hosted invitees including members of the Society and the Queensland Science Network to afternoon tea after the address.

Sir Timothy is professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK). Sir Timothy has campaigned against publishing houses that commercialise access to academic journals and restrict the free exchange of information. He initiated a boycott known as The Cost of Knowledge in 2012.

Sir Timothy spoke on open access from the perspective of public interest libraries endeavouring to maintain open access. He deplored the costs that the large publishing houses, such as Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, impose upon public libraries for subscriptions to scientific journals, especially when subscriptions to a number of journals are bundled up on an all or nothing basis. He noted that the publishing houses receive their raw material free of charge from researchers, that peer reviewers then work on the material free of charge, and that the cost of publishing the resulting edited material online is virtually zero. He noted that most academics do not require a financial incentive in order to pursue their research: they do so for reasons of reputation, curiosity and passion for their craft. The commercial houses piggyback on this expertise free of charge, then levy a fee on the host institutions to report it back.

Independent scholars who are not a staff member of a research institution are finding that more and more journals are blocked to them as walk-in members of the public and of course hard copies are no longer available on the shelves.

Sir Timothy also spoke on the relevance of a small generalist learned society in an era when scholarship is turning commercial and competitive – and in which public scientific institutions lack funds and influence. He acknowledged the difficulty that any scientific organisation now has in print-publishing a journal, argued against handing over responsibility to one of the international publishing houses. He suggested that societies might seek philanthropic endowments to cover the costs of preparing scientific knowledge in this format for broader access.

He also said that the Internet opens up the possibility of “innovative methods of scholarly communication”. The Queensland Science Network that the Society has initiated would be an example. Sir Timothy mentioned the website Arxiv, , an e-print service in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics. This automated electronic archive and distribution server for research articles bypasses the commercial publishing houses. It is moderated but is not peer-reviewed so papers published here are properly regarded as ‘preprints’.

In thanking Sir Timothy, President Geoff Edwards mentioned that the Royal Society of London spearheaded the rise of independent intellectual enquiry that we now loosely call the Enlightenment and established the standards of peer-reviewed publication that knowledge societies like our own follow to this day.

The Society thanks the State Librarian and executive Ms Anna Raunik for organising the event and Ms Jacinta Sutton for arranging audio recording including his speech and audience Q&A – see links to the SLQ website and SLQ’s YouTube channel:

SLQ Website:

YouTube: .

Eungella Birdweek and Bushwalking Festival

25 September 2017

Led by expert guides, you can participate in organised or optional activities. You can come for the day or stay for the whole week – 25 Sep. to 1 Oct.

Organised by Wildmob (not Royal Society). To book visit Wildmob’s site.

Science and ethics

13 April 2017

Q and A panel discussion, Science Students’ Association, Queensland University of Technology. 6pm – 8pm. Contact SSA for more info.