There’s something special about working for a charitable organisation. As with any job, there is the satisfaction of setting and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism, but in addition there’s the knowledge that the fruits of our labour help feed the community in which we work.

The Company sees its journals as a core service provided for the advancement and promotion of biological research

And so it is for The Company of Biologists. Publishing is at the core of the Company’s activities, and we are extremely proud of the high-quality journals we produce. As well as the direct benefit they provide to the research community, these journals yield income that, alongside a long-term policy of careful investment, is used to support a range of scientific activities, including scientific societies, Travelling Fellowships, and grants for scientific meetings, young scientists and special projects. Under the guidance of our Grants Committee, comprising a group of our Company Directors, this charitable giving is aimed at the advancement and promotion of biological research.

Company Directors act as trustees and are active biologists, librarians or computer scientists, whose expertise and commitment is invaluable for the running of the Company. The Company’s charitable status has the condition that none of the Directors receives any remuneration for their services, so Directors give their time and expertise as part of their contribution to the scientific community. Many of them have an ongoing relationship with The Company of Biologists and say they particularly value the fundamental character and spirit of the Company and the way it works.

Some of these principles are represented in the Company seal, which features two Egyptian symbols that also appear in the Company’s more modern logo. The well-known Ankh is the Egyptian hieroglyph for life – an appropriate symbol for an organisation dedicated to supporting the life sciences. The feather represents the goddess Maat and is generally seen as the symbol for truth, balance and order – Maat weighed souls against her feather to determine whether they would reach the paradise of the afterlife. Perhaps this underlines the high standards of behaviour that the Company strives to maintain in all its dealings, both as a publisher through its interactions with authors, referees and readers, and, as a charity, with the weighty decisions that have to be made about how best to allocate funds.

COB Directors

Prof. Sir John Gurdon, FRS – Gurdon Institute, Wellcome/Cancer Research UK, Cambridge

Directors (Trustees)

Prof. John H. Anstee – Retired Senior Pro Vice Chancellor, Durham University

Dr James Briscoe – National Institute for Medical Research, London

Dr Julian Burke – Director, Genetix group

Prof. Andrew Cossins – School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool

Prof. Mehul Dattani – Reader/Honorary Consultant, University College London Institute of Child Health

Dr Matthew Freeman, FRS – Division of Cell Biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge

Prof. Keith Gull, FRS – Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford

Prof. Rick Horwitz – Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia

Sir Tim Hunt, FRS – Cancer Research UK, Hertfordshire

Ms Kathleen Kehoe – Librarian, Biological Sciences Library, Columbia University, New York

Dr John Noble-Nesbitt – School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Dr Jordan Raff – Gurdon Institute, Wellcome/Cancer Research UK, Cambridge

Prof. Martin Raff, FRS – MRC Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, University College London

Mr John R Sack, Jr – Director, Highwire Press, Stanford University, California

Prof. George Somero – Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, California

Prof. John Speakman – Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Prof. Daniel St Johnston, FRS – Gurdon Institute, Wellcome/Cancer Research UK, Cambridge

Dr Kate Storey – School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

A strong history

Throughout its history, the Company has been able to build on its reputation for quality to expand its collection of journals. Established in 1925 through the inspiration of G. P. Bidder, the company initially focused on The British Journal of Experimental Biology (now simply The Journal of Experimental Biology). Such was its success that, in 1946, the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science was gifted to the Company, and was later relaunched as Journal of Cell Science. In 1953, the Company accepted the gift of a third journal, the Journal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology, and this was relaunched in 1987 as Development. And now the Company is delighted to be launching Disease Models & Mechanisms to reflect the increasing importance of model organisms in the understanding of human disease. The close relationship between the Company and the scientific community has always enabled the journals to move with the science and to embrace changes in their fields, and we hope that this will continue to be the case for a long time to come.

Alongside the growth of its publishing activities, the Company has been able to develop its charitable giving. Over the past 15 years alone, the Company donated in excess of $8 million/£4 million to charitable works.

Quality journals with author-friendly policies

DMM joins Development, Journal of Cell Science and The Journal of Experimental Biology in publishing high-quality content for the international research community, and will also report on research that more directly relates to human disease and the clinical community. Each journal is handled by a dedicated editorial team and printed in-house to ensure quality, accuracy and speed of publication as well as a personal, friendly service for authors themselves.

Furthermore, the Company is committed to the widest possible dissemination of the research it publishes. We have digital archives (going back as far as 1853), which make a wealth of classic material accessible to everyone in perpetuity, and all new articles are made freely available online to everyone after 6 months without restriction. In addition, during the launch year of DMM, we will make all of its articles freely available both on the journal website and within PubMed Central for immediate access by readers.

As participants in the United Nation’s HINARI and OARE initiatives, we make all our online articles freely available to users in developing countries immediately on publication. Librarians are free to use our material to create student’s course packs at no charge.

The Company was an early adopter of the contractual principle that authors should retain copyright in their own works. Our contract with authors leaves them free to disseminate their work in a wide variety of ways including posting it on their own websites, reusing it in other publications and storing it in institutional repositories, so offering unrestricted access to many different communities.

To support the launch of DMM and the communication of the work published within it, the Company will be making available Research Presentation Grants to first authors of papers submitted during 2008 and published in DMM. These grants will provide support to travel to a major scientific meeting to discuss the results of their DMM papers either in presentations or posters.

Charitable activities

The Company sees its journals as a core service provided for the advancement and promotion of biological research. In addition, as a not-for-profit publisher, the Company can use its subscription revenue to support its charitable remit.

Supporting societies

The Company provides grants to many scientific societies, large and small. Three societies are funded by the Company on a regular basis: British Society of Cell Biology (BSCB), British Society of Developmental Biology (BSDB) and Society of Experimental Biology (SEB). These societies, in turn, use part of our funding to provide travel grants to support postgraduates and junior postdocs who wish to attend their conferences.

Travelling Fellowships

Much of our charitable giving is focused on helping young scientists gain a wider appreciation of the work done in other countries through the many Travelling Fellowships we offer each year. Each of the Company’s journals provide Travelling Fellowships to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows and these are put towards the cost of collaborative visits to other research laboratories. Applications are now welcome for Travelling Fellowships from DMM. Applicants should be using model organisms to understand, treat or diagnose human disease and preference will be given to facilitating collaborations between basic researchers and clinical scientists.

Grants for scientific meetings, young scientists and special projects

The Company considers funding requests from the organizers of a range of charitable activities including (but not limited to): meetings, workshops, conferences and summer schools in the fields covered by our journals; support of young scientists; funding for plenary or keynote speakers attending meetings; selected educational initiatives; and prizes for conference presentations by junior scientists.

We are careful to ensure that a significant proportion of our charitable giving each year is reserved for initiatives that aim to educate and excite the public about biology. For example, the Company is a major contributor to the Darwin 2009 Festival, an event designed to celebrate his work and explain its relevance today. We also create a range of free educational materials such as Highlights and Classic Articles booklets that provide an easily understood summary of the important breakthroughs described in full research articles for the benefit of school students and interested general readers.

The Company also currently manages the Peter Baker Memorial Fund and Philip Godfrey Memorial Fund.

For more information on any of our charitable activities – or to apply for funding –please see our website at

Examples of recent grants awarded

The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Regeneration and Tissue Repair – EMBO workshop

10th International Conference on Limb Development and Regeneration – Spanish National Cardiovascular Research Centre

Model Organisms & Stem Cells in Development, Regeneration & Disease – National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute

Cartilage Metabolism and Cell Based Therapies for Tissue Regeneration – British Society for Matrix Biology

Cell Biology of the Neuron – Gordon Research Conference

Fibroblast Growth Factors in Development & Disease – Gordon Research Conference

The Nucleolus & Disease – University of Leeds

International Workshop on Cancer Stem Cells – SEMM Foundations

Model Organisms to Human Biology – Genetics Society of America

Pancreatic β Cell – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Wnt/β-catenin Signalling in Development & Disease – Keystone Symposia

Obesity, Energy Balance & Disease – FASEB meeting

Autophagy in Stress, Development & Disease – Gordon Research Conference

Role & Control of GATA Factors in Tissue Development & Disease – EMBO workshop

Mammalian Genetics, Development & Disease – Cardiff University

Insights into Osteoarthritis – British Society for Matrix Biology

ESCRTs – from Cell Biology to Pathogenesis – The Biochemical Society

The Kidney: Development, Repair and Regeneration – KIDSTEM Research Training Network