News & Press: EANS News

Presidential Update

Tuesday 17 March 2020  
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Dear Friends & Colleagues,


Almost six months have passed since our congress in Dublin in September 2019, and you may wonder what’s happening behind the scene since EANS2019.


In fact, the Office and the Board have been quite active: there are regular Zoom video-conferences and we meet during courses and on other occasions. Moreover, we are in regular exchange with the section and committee heads so as to receive and to oversee their activities and their strategic planning for the ongoing year. Some are more active than others. But, that’s always been like that, and in general there is a lot of activity and good energy.


There are other projects and topics, which are currently treated with particular attention.


Regular meetings and exchanges are taking place, because we are underway to create a true foundation for our Research Fund. That needs thorough investigation so as to where to place this foundation, under which legislation. Thus, we had to search legal advice, write a water-tight constitution, and we have to prepare for the voting process during the General Assembly during EANS2020 in Belgrade in order to receive the accord of the delegates to safely place the basic capital on a safe EANS account. Of course, we are equally preparing to launch a fund-raising campaign to accrue funding from private donators and from philanthropic organizations.


Furthermore, we are refurbishing the Bylaws of the EANS, and we are reviewing the constitution, because it needs some adjustments, and all these changes have to be voted on during the General Assembly in Belgrade as well.


A lot of time is invested in the refurbishment of our internet presence and our website, which is becoming more and more interactive. That is being done by the Artion team, our administrative office and management team.


Then, there is another challenge: the change of the publication landscape. More and more national scientific organizations and universities require full Open Access (OA) publishing of scientific material, which has been generated through public funding. That may reach from simple clinical studies, which are conducted in public hospitals to basic scientific projects, which are funded through public and through third-party funding agencies. OA is revolutionizing the way how scientific material is published. In OA publishing, the money for article processing costs (APC) is covered by the authors. This explains why there are so many journals with a questionable scientific background popping up from nowhere. EANS as a scientific organization has to stay on solid ethical grounds, of course. And yet, we need to prepare for these challenges. With OA publishing becoming an obligation in the wealthier countries, we might need to establish models, which will allow our colleagues from lower to middle income countries to continue publishing their material.


For many years Acta Neurochirurgica has been the Official Organ of the EANS. The journal itself - including its title - is owned by Springer (which in itself is owned by capital investment companies). In view of the above mentioned evolution, we are also reconsidering our relationship with Springer. The EANS is paying a considerable amount of money to Springer to give Individual Members access to Acta, many IM’s are editors or active reviewers for Acta, and yet EANS has no impact on how Acta is managed.


In order to get a clear view on what’s happening and how to position ourselves for the future, EANS has hired an external consultant with long-standing experience in the publishing field. We are looking at all possible options. In addition, we are evaluating the possibility to join forces with Eurospine (which, as an organization, has a similar membership base) to enlarge our impact on how neurosurgical publications are being managed. There are no taboos in the ongoing evaluation and discussion. The board will prepare a report for the General Assembly in Belgrade, and a proposal for future directions. Given the importance of the subject, this proposal shall be voted on.


We believe that our national societies and you, the IMs, should be informed of what’s going on in between the annual EANS congresses. Many of you may be involved in these ongoing projects, all others are encouraged to join our working groups and/or to let us know their thoughts.


I take the opportunity to thank the office team and the board for their continuing support and the excellent work they are doing, as well as all countless colleagues, who are contributing to the well-being and the continuing development of our organization.


Wishing to see you all again soon and in good health.


For the Board of the EANS

Karl Schaller