Point of View: Improving on legacy conferences by moving online
Achakulvisut T, Ruangrong T, Bilgin I, Van Den Bossche S, Wyble B, Goodman DFM, Kording KP
eLife (2020) 9:e57892
Scientific conferences and meetings have an important role in research, but they also suffer from a number of disadvantages: in particular, they can have a massive carbon footprint, they are time-consuming, and the high costs involved in attending can exclude many potential participants. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of many conferences, forcing the scientific community to explore online alternatives. Here, we report on our experiences of organizing an online neuroscience conference, neuromatch, that attracted some 3000 participants and featured two days of talks, debates, panel discussions, and one-on-one meetings facilitated by a matching algorithm. By offering most of the benefits of traditional conferences, several clear advantages, and with fewer of the downsides, we feel that online conferences have the potential to replace many legacy conferences.