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Conference demographics and footprint changed by virtual platforms

Matthew Skiles, Euijin Yang, Orad Reshef, Diego Robalino Muñoz, Diana Cintron, Mary Laura Lind, Alexander Rush, Patricia Perez Calleja, Robert Nerenberg, Andrea Armani (), Kasey Faust () and Manish Kumar ()
Additional contact information
Matthew Skiles: The University of Texas at Austin
Euijin Yang: The University of Texas at Austin
Orad Reshef: University of Ottawa
Diego Robalino Muñoz: The University of Texas at Austin
Diana Cintron: The University of Texas at Austin
Mary Laura Lind: Arizona State University
Alexander Rush: Cornell University, Ithaca
Patricia Perez Calleja: University of Notre Dame
Robert Nerenberg: University of Notre Dame
Andrea Armani: University of Southern California
Kasey Faust: The University of Texas at Austin
Manish Kumar: The University of Texas at Austin

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 2, 149-156

Abstract: 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.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00823-2

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