Professor Richard Reece has come to the end of his term of office as Chair of Portland Press Board, having served in the role since May 2013.

Overseeing strategic development of the Biochemical Society’s publishing arm for the past nine years, Professor Reece has contributed enormously to our publishing activities, developing our offering for researchers and specialists and enabling the Society to carry out our charitable initiatives. He has been instrumental to implementing an infrastructural overhaul, the launch of two new journals, and responding to broader events in support of our community at all times – including the provision of unrestricted access to all our journal content at the height of the pandemic, for example.

With unprecedented change occurring across the scholarly publishing landscape over the past decade, the Society’s commitment to open scholarship has been progressed significantly during his tenure. Key milestones include the decision to focus on the sustainable transition of all our journals to full open access in 2017 and the launch of our pilot Read & Publish (R&P) models in late 2019, which have moved us to the forefront of innovation in the sector. The uptake of these models has grown year on year since launch, with more than 250 institutions now benefitting from R&P agreements.

As a community-focused, self-publishing learned society, the development of new business models has necessitated forward-thinking approaches, and our thanks go to Professor Reece for his input and guidance during his term. The expansion of our journal portfolio has taken our output into exciting new fields, demonstrating the incredible breadth of work taking place across the molecular biosciences. Professor Reece’s leadership has strengthened synergistic working between the Society and Portland Press and has ensured the combined fulfilment of our objectives, maintaining support for our community of molecular bioscientists.

Over the past 20 years, Professor Reece has held a variety of other roles across the Society, including Science Editor of The Biochemist and Chair of the Society’s Publications Committee. He has also been a member of the Council of Trustees and Executive Management Committee in his capacity as Chair of Portland Press Board. His contributions during this period have been invaluable and we look forward to continuing the work he has undertaken with the implementation of our new three-year strategy.

Professor Nigel Hooper succeeds Professor Reece as Chair of Portland Press Board, having previously served as Chair of the Society’s Publications Committee. Professor Hooper obtained his PhD at the University of Leeds and, following a post-doctoral fellowship from the Royal Society, he was an academic member of staff at Leeds, culminating in his promotion to Professor of Biochemistry and Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences. In 2014, Professor Hooper was appointed as Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Manchester, where he has served as Vice Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health from 2016–2020 and is currently Associate Vice-President for Research. He has formerly served on the Editorial Board and as Editor-in-Chief for our journals, the Biochemical Journal and Essays in Biochemistry, respectively. We are delighted to welcome him to the role at an exciting point in the development of our activities across both the Society and Portland Press.

“The scholarly publishing landscape has changed immeasurably since I began my term as Chair of Portland Press Board and it has been both our challenge and opportunity to respond positively to developments across the sector. The past two years, especially, have served as a reminder of just how important it is to be able to share reliable, trusted, cutting-edge research. It remains our ambition to disseminate knowledge and understanding in ways that support the advancement of our multidisciplinary fields, and I am confident we have the structures in place to pursue a sustainable transition to open access for the benefit of the molecular bioscience community. My time as Chair has been exceptionally rewarding and I am pleased to see Professor Nigel Hooper succeed me in this capacity. I look forward to seeing the continuation of the Group’s work as they further embed the principles of open scholarship.”

Professor Richard Reece
Chair, Portland Press Board 2013–2022