Privacy Policy

This agreement was last modified on 15th May 2018.

This privacy statement tells you who we are and what to expect when the Linnean Society collects personal information from both Fellows (members of the Society) and non-Fellows. This is in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 and will become 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 in 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 Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society. We are a membership-based organisation with just over 2,800 members (Fellows, Associates and Student Associates). We are a UK registered charity (charity reference no: 220509) and we are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK.

Why we collect personal information

We collect personal information to maintain and enhance your membership of the Society. We use this to send out our newsletter, The Linnean, PuLSe, information about our events, and other material linked to the activities of the Society and for which you have chosen to become a member (e.g., Fellow, Associate or Student Associate). These materials also include registration for Society events that are open to both members and non-members. In addition, the Library and Archives collect personal information to safeguard the Collections (including copyright), and ensure the activities of the Society are recorded and preserved as part of the history of the institution.

What personal information we collect

The types of personal information that we collect derive primarily from the two application forms members complete when they apply for membership. These are the Form of Recommendation and the Annual Contribution Form.

Form of Recommendation
The Society asks applicants for their title, full name, date of birth, qualifications, profession, address and areas of interest in relation to natural history. The purpose of this is to build a profile of Fellowship applicants which enables members with similar interests to get in touch with each other. These data are kept in perpetuity for historical and archival purposes of the Linnean Society of London.

Annual Contribution Form

This form is divided into four sections:
1. Personal details: These are title, name, address, postcode, email address and telephone. These are needed to maintain your membership and are stored on a secure database hosted on servers based in the office.
2. Contribution: Here you choose your level of membership and if you want access to the electronic journals.
3. Payment details: This is where you provide us with your card details so that we can deduct your first annual contribution. These details are then blacked out after they have been claimed upon. For future payments you can either pay by direct debit or pay via a secure area on our website.
4. Gift Aid: This applies to UK members only and is optional.

Note: If you decide to pay by Direct Debit, your bank information will be stored on our database and will only be accessed for collection of annual membership dues.

All the information above is collected to maintain your Fellowship with the Society and so the legal basis for collection of this information is “legitimate interests”.

Some of your personal information, such as address and contact details, is also stored on a web-based database to which all Fellows have access. The default status of your profile is such that it is not accessible to other members. If you wish to have your profile accessible to other members of the Society, you must opt in to this functionality. The purpose of this database is so that you can communicate with other members if you (and they) so wish. You can also opt out of having your data visible on the web-based database at any time. You can also amend all the information on the web-based database, which will then be amended on the database held in the Society’s Office.

We will not share any personal data with third party organisations for marketing purposes, but outsource functions for which we do not have the necessary internal capacity. We share your email address with a third party organisation to provide you with PuLSe and the email newsletter to inform you of our events. We also share your mailing address with another mailing company to send to you The Linnean. We will continue to monitor that the companies we work with are GDPR compliant and will not pass on your data to any other third party organisation. The Society only uses these companies to provide you with the publications and events as stated and for no other purpose. We will always ensure that stringent protection applies to any personal information that is transferred outside the European Economic Area. For those Fellows who have opted for access to the online Journals as part of your membership, your email address is shared with our publishers so that they can send you instructions to access the online journals.

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 Linnean Society will not be able to maintain your membership as it will not be able to honour its obligation to you as a member.

Library and Archives
The Library collects information from its readers in the following ways:
• Reader registration forms (for non-Fellows): Name, address, email address, telephone number, affiliation, and signature. Retention period: 3 years.
• Image permission forms: Name, address, email, affiliation, and signature. Retention period: 3 years.
• Enquiries (made to the Library via email or letter): Name, address or email address. Retention period: 5 years.
• Reader register book: Name. Retention period: in perpetuity for historical purposes.
• AdoptLINN: Name, address, email, telephone number of the adopter; name of people for whom the book/ object was adopted. Retention period: in perpetuity for historical purposes.
• Donation forms and books: Name, address, email, telephone. Retention period: in perpetuity for historical

Medal and Award Nominations
The Society awards medals and prizes for a variety of achievements in the science of natural history. Nominations for these awards include personal information such as name, date of birth, profession and curriculum vitae. This information is kept securely within the Society until decisions are made on the awards by Council, and at that point all nomination forms will be destroyed for those not awarded medals or prizes. Medal and prize winner’s personal information will be retained in perpetuity for historical and archival purposes unless a request to not do so is received in writing.

Grant Applications
The Society awards grants for scientific work related to natural history. Applications for grants include personal information such as name, address and email. All grant applications will be kept securely within the Society until decisions are made on awards, after which time personal information for all unsuccessful candidates will be destroyed. Information on successful applicants will be kept for historical purposes. Bank details for successful candidates will be destroyed as soon as payments from the Society to them are confirmed.

Jobs and Volunteering Applicants
If you apply for a job or to volunteer at the Society we will use the information you provide to process your application and monitor recruitment statistics. If we need to release information to a third party, for example to take up a reference or to obtain disclosure, we will inform you beforehand. Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 3 months after the recruitment ends, and will then be destroyed. Successful candidates who then become employees of the Society will have their records kept for
6 years.

How Fellows will be contacted by the Society

We strive to make sure that our Fellowship is consistently up-to-date with the news, events and improvements happening at the Society. To this end, there are a number of ways we normally stay in contact.

Via Post:
The Linnean, our biannual newsletter, is sent out in April and October. (The April issue also includes the Annual Review and Anniversary Meeting Agenda.)

PuLSe, our quarterly magazine, is published in March, June, August and December. (Only a limited number of the magazine, along with the events brochure, are sent as hard copies.)

Via Email:
Linnean News: Our monthly newsletter sent via MailChimp. Apart from the website this is the most up-to-date account of events, as this includes events that have been arranged after the programmes brochure has been published. MailChimp is GDPR compliant.

PuLSe: This magazine is available online to Fellows, and is sent via MailChimp.

Surveys: In order to help improve our services the Society will occasionally send out surveys to our Fellowship.

Event invites: Occasionally we have events that we believe certain Fellows would benefit from attending. Therefore we sometimes send out personal invites; these are only for our day meetings, special events and regional lectures.

​Your data’s journey through the Society​

The Society is a scientific and historical body and is therefore allowed to further process your personal data for archiving activities and maintenance of the Society’s historical records. It is sincerely hoped that you will agree for your personal data to be further processed in this way. This however does not mean that your “right to be forgotten” is taken away. Under the terms of the GDPR you have a right to request at any time a copy of the data we hold about you by using a subject access request to the Data Protection Officer. Please note that some personal information from deceased Fellows will be securely stored for historical and archive purposes in line with our charitable purpose. If you want to discuss any aspects of the Linnean Society’s Privacy Policy, or have suggestions for improvement of our procedures, please contact the Society’s Data Protection Officer Mr. Y. Nithianandan in writing at the address below or by email (

The Linnean Society of London
The Linnean Society of London
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London UK W1J 0BF
t: +44 (0)20 7434 4479
Charity Reference No.: 220509