Following a gruelling 15 hour flight (my longest to date), I arrived in downtown Taipei to attend the 12th International Symposium of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA). 2009 is the 25th Anniversary of SCBA and the 2nd time that the society had held their biennial meeting in Taiwan. With sessions at the symposium as diverse as aquaculture, cognitive neuroscience and even entrepreneurship, it is no wonder the event now attracts in excess of 1200 delegates.
I was invited to attend the symposium by Kuan-Teh Jeang (pictured above centre), editor of our highly successful independent journal, Retrovirology and President Elect of the SCBA.
Whilst I struggled with the heat and humidity and the total lack of Western food during my visit, I managed to catch up with Michael Lai the editor of the Journal of Biomedical Science. JBS is a leading Taiwanese journal that recently moved to open access with BioMed Central. It was pleasing that whilst talking to Michael and networking with SCBA Council Members, symposium speakers, journalists and delegates alike, I could see not only the growth of scientific output across the Far East, but also the growth of awareness in open access.
Not to pass up the opportunity of soaking up some of Taipei’s culture during my visit, I braved the heights (509.2 meters) of Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building.
I discovered that the building design focuses on the number 8. It is constructed with 8 segments each with 8 floors and that this symbolises prosperity and good fortune in Chinese culture – I had the good fortune not to feel queasy from the viewing deck located on the 91st floor!
Matt McKay, Head of PR