How to (and maybe how not to) organise virtual conferences. Discuss with organisers of our network meeting and with Dan Goodman from the neuromatch conference series.
- Hendrik Hartmann MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig
Because of the Covid-19 pandemics many events worldwide had to be cancelled, this also applies to scientific conferences. In consequence, the entire world is moving to the virtual space and colleagues make great efforts to replace conventional conferences by virtual conferences. Virtual conferences are not only interesting in the context of flattening the curve of a pandemic but also in order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide emissions due to travel activity. We as the Max Planck Sustainability Network promote virtual conferences in science in favor of our climate, thus the Covid-19 pandemic was for us only the occasion but not the reason to go virtual. Since now we had to adapt to virtual conferences very fast and we had to learn how to do this in very short time, we would like to use the momentum to push further for virtual conferences. On the other hand, moving towards virtual conferences implies many obstacles. Scientists are used to large conferences to network with other experts in their respective fields, also on a personal level. But how to implement this online in a virtual space?
First we want to cover the ecological aspects of the conference business. Since servers also require a lot of energy, we have to ask ourselves, whether virtual conferences are really more sustainable than conventional conferences. Servers to run video conferences need a lot of energy. We want to answer this question and discuss briefly the ecological benefits of virtual conferences. Substantial time shall committed be to the actual organisation of virtual conferences. Which are useful tools? Is there more to think of besides the choice between Skype and Zoom? How can you make a virtual conference feel like a normal conference? And how can you create the spirit that arises from personal encounters?
We will provide you with insights, of how big meetings and scientific conferences can be hosted online, giving you details on the organization of this particular meeting and with specific insights by Dan Goodman, one of the organizers of neuromatch conferences!