School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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We consider the opportunities and challenges associated with organizing a conference online, using a case study of a medium-sized (approx. 400 participants) international conference held virtually in August 2020. In addition, we present quantifiable evidence of the participants’ experience using the results from an online post-conference questionnaire. Although the virtual meeting was not able to replicate the in-person experience in some aspects (e.g. less engagement between participants) the overwhelming majority of respondents found the meeting an enjoyable experience and would join similar events again. Notably, there was a strong desire for future inperson meetings to have at least some online component. Online attendance by lower-income researchers was higher compared with a past, similarthemed in-person meeting held in a high-income nation, but comparable to one held in an upper-middle-income nation. This indicates that online conferences are not a panacea for diversity and inclusivity, and that holding in-person meetings in developing economies can be at least as effective. Given that it is now relatively easy to stream contents of meetings online using low-cost methods, there are clear benefits in making all presented content accessible online, as well as organizing online networking events for those unable to attend in person.


© 2021 The Authors.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Proc. R. Soc. B.





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