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At its Bicentenary Conference in London the Geological Society announced a new initiative to help developing countries benefit from access to the digitised content of the Lyell Collection.

Geoscientist Online 18 October 2007

The Geological Society of London used the occasion of its Bicentennial Conference on 12 September to announce that all the current and archival content from its digitised publications – the Lyell Collection – will shortly be made freely available to higher education institutions, NGOs and geological surveys in developing countries.

Researchers, teachers and students in some of the poorest countries around the world will now have access to over 14,000 original research articles and 230,000 full-text pages from the Society’s collection of world-leading journals and Special Publications, stretching from the mid 1800s through to the present day.

Access to the Lyell Collection will be facilitated by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). However, the Geological Society believe that further support is required if this access is be translated into knowledge and actions that will have a real and positive impact on the progress of developing countries. To that end, the Society has formed a partnership with Schlumberger – a leading provider of technology, project management and information solutions to the oil, gas and water extraction industries. Through this partnership, the Geological Society and Schlumberger will focus support where the local infrastructure and expertise can use the Society’s information resources to best effect. The Society and Schlumberger are also working with AfricaArray – an initiative that brings together education, training and research programmes for building and maintaining a scientific workforce for Africa’s natural resource sector.

“Our role as a learned society publisher is different to that of most commercial publishers” says Neal Marriott, the Society's Director of Publishing. “The Society exists to advance our understanding of the Earth sciences, so that this knowledge can be used for the benefit of people all over the world. So, we wanted to do more than simply provide access to our content in developing nations. The geosciences are of critical importance in helping countries benefit from their natural resources and manage the risks and after-effects of natural disasters such as flooding, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. We see it as our role to be active partners, not just passive providers of content, in helping developing nations gain the skills and knowledge they need to influence their governments and bring about positive change – from the inside, out.”
The Society hopes that their approach will influence other organizations, particularly in the field of the geosciences, to take a more proactive role within developing countries.

“Learned societies need to reinvent themselves to serve the world of today and tomorrow,” says Edmund Nickless, Executive Secretary. “The geosciences have never been more relevant to the future. From searching for new energy sources through to managing the potential impact of global warming – we will only make progress if countries around the world work together, from a common knowledge base. I believe that learned societies have a critical role to play in providing this knowledge and in making it useful. At the Geological Society we see our developing countries programme as an important part of our evolution, as we adapt our activities to reflect the changing needs of the modern world. We hope that other societies will join us in working together to pool our knowledge and skills for the benefit and security of our future.”

The Lyell Collection was launched in May 2007, and contains the current and archival content from the Geological Society’s digitised publications stretching from the mid 1800s to the present day. Please see: for further information.

The creation of the Lyell Collection has been made possible by the generosity of BP and Shell through their platinum sponsorship during the Society’s bicentennial year. This valuable resource is available to the Earth science community worldwide, with the support of Schlumberger.

We would like to thank BP and Shell - our Bicentennial Year Platinum sponsors.