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Society for the History of Natural History

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

This privacy statement tells you who we are and what to expect when the Society for the History of Natural History collects personal information from members of the Society. This is in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 and which became enforceable in the United Kingdom on the 25 May 2018. GDPR regulates how organisations obtain, use, store and destroy personal data.

We have reviewed, and will continue to assess, all our processes relating to the handling, processing and storage of all personal data that we collect to maintain your relationship with the Society. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards when collecting and using personal information and we encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We also welcome any suggestions for improvement in our procedures.

Who we are

The Society is instituted for the historical and bibliographical study of all branches of natural history, including their social and cultural aspects, across all cultures. It is a membership-based organisation with just over 360 members. It is a UK registered charity (Charity Reference No.: 210355).

Why we collect personal information

You have chosen to become a member of the Society for the History of Natural History and we collect your personal information in order to administer your membership, to send out your twice-yearly Newsletter and to send you documents relating to the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

What personal information do we collect and how do we store it?

The type of personal information we collect derives from the information members provide to Edinburgh University Press (EUP) when they apply for membership i.e. title, full name, postal address and e-mail address (if applicable). This information is collected to administer your membership of the Society, so the legal basis for collection of this information is “legitimate interest”. EUP provides the Society with an electronic spreadsheet containing this information and the Society stores it securely and makes it available only to the President, Membership Officer, Secretary, Newsletter Editor and International Representatives Co-ordinator.

The Society will not share any of your personal data with third party organisations for marketing purposes. The Society has to outsource functions for which it does not have the necessary internal capacity, so postal addresses are shared with a third party organisation to send you the Society’s Newsletter and with another mailing company to send you the AGM documents. We will continue to monitor the companies with which we work to ensure that they remain GDPR compliant and will not pass on your data to any other third party organisations. The Society only uses these companies to provide you with the publication and documents stated and for no other purpose.

You also have the right to view, edit and ask us to delete all the information that we hold on you. However, if you ask us to delete all of your information, the Society for the History of Natural History will not be able to maintain your membership as it will not be able to honour its obligations to you as a member.

Medal and Award Nominations

The Society awards medals and prizes for a variety of achievements in the fields of the history and bibliography of natural history. Full details of these are listed in  Schedule 2 – Awards and Prizes Final. Nominations for these awards can include personal information such as name, profession, curriculum vitae and contact details. This information is held securely within the Society until decisions are made on the awards by Council and, at that point, all nomination forms for those not awarded medals or prizes are securely destroyed. Medal- and prize-winners’ personal information will be retained in perpetuity for historical and archival purposes unless a request to the contrary is received in writing.

Small Research Grant Applications

The Society awards a Small Research Grant (see Schedule 2 – Awards and Prizes Final) to support scholarly research or cover travel expenses to attend conferences. Applications for this grant includes personal information such as name, address and contact details. All grant applications are held securely within the Society until decisions are made on the awards and, at that point, all applications from unsuccessful candidates are securely destroyed. Information on successful applicants will be kept for historical and archival purposes. Bank details for successful applicants will be securely destroyed as soon as payments received from the Society have been confirmed.

How members will be contacted by the Society

There are two ways in which we normally contact members.

By post:

The SHNH Newsletter is sent out by post twice a year
The AGM documents are sent out by post to those members who have not provided an e-mail address

By e-mail:

The AGM documents are sent out by e-mail to those members who have provided an e-mail address

As a historical Society, the Society for the History of Natural History is allowed to process your personal data further for archiving purposes and for the maintenance of the Society’s historical records. It is sincerely hoped that you will agree to your personal data being further processed in this way. However, this does not mean that your “right to be forgotten” is taken away. Under the terms of GDPR you have the right to request at any time a copy of the data we hold on you by sending a subject access request to the Data Protection Officer.

If you wish to discuss any aspects of the Society for the History of Natural History’s Privacy Policy, or have suggestions for the improvement of our procedures, please contact the Secretary by e-mail to