Volume III – No. 2 (Special conference edition)
Gijs Mom, president of the T2M Association writes:
This special conference edition of our Newsletter is totally dedicated to your role, as a T2M member, in deciding upon the future course of our association. By now, if you registered for the conference, you must have received the CD-ROM (if not: please contact the secretariat immediately) with most of the papers, and no doubt you will be as thrilled as I am about the number, the variety and the breadth of topics and approaches. If you decided not to come this year, this Newsletter is even more important for you, as this is your only chance this year to influence our future policy.
First of all, you are invited to take part in electing the last members of our Executive Committee (EC) which, after this election, will have reached its full complement. As the EC is yet to reach its statutory maximum size, the current five candidates are effectively unopposed. From next year, we will have more competitive elections. Please use the special form and send it to the Executive Secretary, in care of the secretariat, before 27 September at the very latest, at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Voting will also be possible on paper during the first day of the Paris conference, but in order not to burden the secretariat too much, and certainly if you will not be attending the conference, I would appreciate if you could cast your vote through cyberspace as soon as possible.
Then we have to vote on the Statutes and the Internal Regulations. We have been working on them since we voted, in November 2003 in Eindhoven, in favor of the foundation of T2M. Now, after you as members have agreed with these texts, and after we have integrated possible emendations from you, we at last will be able to found our association in an official way, at the desk of a Dutch notary. Please read the texts carefully, and if you have serious questions and proposals to emendations, please let the secretariat know before Wednesday 27 September, certainly if you will not be present at the members meeting. The EC will discuss these proposals and remarks during its meeting on Thursday 28 September in Paris, so we will be able to have a vote during our members meeting on Saturday. If the amendments are substantial we may decide to organize a vote after the conference, but for the moment we expect both documents not to be controversial, so, again, if you will not be present in Paris, give us your opinion before the conference!
Last, we will have to discuss, during the members meeting, the issue of the association’s journal. In 2003 we decided that for three years we would affiliate our association with The Journal of Transport History. At the end of this year, the contract between T2M and Manchester University Press (MUP) expires, and we have to make up our minds whether we wish to continue this contract (perhaps making a better deal in terms of discounts for our members) or whether we should seriously look into alternatives, which should bring the association much more eagerly needed income to enable us to do what we plan to do. Whatever the outcome of this process, we cannot organize an alternative journal within a couple of months, so it is very likely that the contract with MUP will be continued at least for another year, when everybody within our organization will have made up his/her mind. And whatever the outcome, we will have to raise our membership fee in order to follow the subscription rate increase by MUP for the following year, and to solve at least the immediate problems of a weak annual budget until we have found a solution for the journal. We will vote on that during the members meeting, as the exact amount of the increase has not yet been established by the EC. This will happen during the EC meeting on September 28. Remember: in the contract T2M is called an ‘agent’ and agents do not have a say whatsoever on the subscription rate. The only thing we can do is to negotiate a larger discount to (partially) compensate for the raise.
In our conference survey, we will integrate a couple of questions related to the journal, in order for us to get an impression about how you evaluate it. Please make sure that you fill out this survey and, if you have not already done so, read the March 2006 issue sent to you just after the summer holidays (the September issue will be sent to you after the conference, by October 18th, MUP assured us). Also, during the members meeting, we will inform you about what is at stake, after the EC has made up its mind during its annual meeting two days before. What is at stake is not so much the content of the journal (although we are very eager to hear your opinion about it), but the financial benefits T2M is able to reap from its efforts to be, as it were, a cradle for the majority of submissions that are sent to the journal. Some of us think: we do the work, and the publisher benefits from this. Others say: let’s not ruin a journal which exists already for more than 50 years, because it is very likely that if we decide to go for our own journal, many members of JTH’s editorial board will follow, and that may mean the end of that journal. Or we may end up with two competing journals. In short, the whole issue boils down to the question whether we think we will be able to solve our pecuniary problems by starting a new journal, and whether we are ready to face the consequences of such a decision. Truly, I think, the most important decision we have to make in our short history!
I am very much looking forward to greeting you all in Paris, at our fourth international conference, and I hope you will have a safe trip.