Professional societies play a major role in medicine and science. The societies tend to be large with well-developed administrative structures. An additional model, however, is based on small groups of experts who meet regularly in an egalitarian model in order to discuss disease-specific scientific and medical problems. In order to illustrate the effectiveness of this model, the history and practices are examined of a long-standing successful example, the International Liver Pathology Group, better known as the Gnomes. The history shows that groups such as the Gnomes offer a number of important benefits not available in larger societies and nurturing such groups advances science and medicine in meaningful ways. The success of the Gnomes' approach provides a road map for future small scientific groups.