The Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) exists to help those who write about science and technology, and to improve the standard of science journalism in the UK. We are an association of science writers, journalists, broadcasters and science-based communications professionals.
Founded in 1947, the ABSW has provided science journalists with networking, training, gossip, opportunities and jobs for over 60 years. We aim to promote the highest standards of journalism and writing by encouraging flair and bravery. We also hope to foster a mutually supportive community and to provide an environment for new ideas to develop and flourish.
Through debates and events, our discussion group and our science writing awards we help to create links between science writers, their subjects and markets. List of member benefits.
In July 2010 we established the UK Conference of Science Journalism, a biyearly event following on from the highly successful 2009 World Conference of Science Journalism held in London. Members can access video and podcasts from the 2010 and 2012 conferences.
Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders
In 2010 the ABSW became a company limited by guarantee. The Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders to which the ABSW must adhere can be found here.
ABSW Democracy and Decision Making
The ABSW is managed by an Executive Board comprising a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer (who are also Directors of the company) and a European Representative (who may be the President), plus up to seven other members elected at the AGM, and up to four co-opted members. The AGM also appoints an Honorary President who needs to be considered for re-appointment every three years. At the AGM two auditors are also appointed to oversee the work of the Executive Board on behalf of the members (see next section). The Executive Board is required to meet at least six times per year.
Executive Board members are elected annually for a term of one year and take up office immediately after the AGM. The President and the Vice- President may hold office for no more than three consecutive years. There are no restrictions on how long other Board members may hold office. Find out more about the current committee here.
Elections for the Executive Board take place annually and any full member of the ABSW may stand for election. Full and life members may then vote in the election. In past years a vote took place at the AGM, however, from 2014 onwards the ABSW will organise an 'online' nominations and voting process to enable all members to take part. The results will then be announced and ratified at the AGM.
For full details of the nomination and election process (including how to stand for election, details of post responsibilities etc) please see further details
contained in the members only part of the ABSW website - you will be prompted to login to the site to read this article.
The auditors elected at the AGM are ABSW members, not audit professionals. Their role is to act on behalf of the members and to reassure them of the governance, management and financial base of the ABSW. In particular, they should
(a) assure the members that the accounts that the Treasurer presents at the AGM are a fair record of the Association’s finances;
(b) ensure that the procedures followed and strategies put in place by the Executive Board are appropriate to protect the Association and its finances; and
(c) report on these issues to the AGM.*
* The ABSW's Standing Orders will be amended at the 2015 AGM to incorporate this statement in italics as this is required in order to clarify the role of the auditors
The auditors’ terms of reference are to act as ‘internal auditors’ addressing the ABSW’s accounts but also membership trends and strategies, significant long-term changes in income and expenditure, procedures for decision-making and financial authorisation, and capacity for addressing future challenges.
Their report is specifically not the type of audit that would be required by Companies House if the need for an audit were written into the Articles or if one were required as a result of the Association’s turnover.
The Association's statutory accounts submitted to Companies House are prepared by professional accountants. The auditors are not expected to redo the accountants' work, but will wish to assure themselves that the statutory accounts are correct and match the figures presented at the AGM.
They should sign off (and provide a report if necessary) on the income and expenditure account for the year and the year-end balances, as presented by the Treasurer.
If you are looking for a science, technology or medical journalist, please visit the Member Directory. Our web directory allows members to advertise themselves to the world and, at the same time, make contact with any other professional in the association. Our website is prominent when searching for "science writers", so we are able to raise the web profile of journalists and broadcasters seeking freelance work. We also have a popular webpage where members can advertise their books.
If you are looking to enter science journalism, take a look at our FAQs, which link to various online resources.
Public relations professionals are welcome to join as non-voting Associate members, and student membership helps those with a relevant interest in science journalism who are seeking to enter the profession.
The ABSW is a member of the World Federation of Science Journalists.
Getting in touch
To get in touch, visit Contact Us. You can also find more information here about advertising with us.
If you have any queries, be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.