Conference demographics and footprint changed by virtual platforms

(Nature Sustainability) Рhere we analyze the recent impact of transforming in-person conferences into virtual conferences on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in science and engineering conferences.  Read More.

 

 Abstract

Conferences disseminate research, grow professional networks and train employees. Unfortunately, they also contribute to climate change and present barriers to achieving a socially sustainable work environment. Here, we analyse the recent impact of transforming in-person conferences into virtual conferences on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in science and engineering conferences. Factors including cost, gender, career stage and geographic location were evaluated. Virtual conferences demonstrated a clearly discernable and, in some cases, orders of magnitude improvement across nearly all metrics. On the basis of participant survey results, this improvement may be attributed to a combination of reduced financial and personal-life burdens. However, despite this clear impact, further development of virtual networking features and poster sessions is necessary to achieve widespread adoption and acceptance of this new format.

 

Credit: This Week in Accessibility by Briana Blaser