The formats of the academic conference observed during the pandemic "were born of the need", but "aligned with the pressures they had been building for years," according to a new research report by Ithaka S + R. and while Covid -19 still makes the appearance of future conferences difficult to predict, it is clear that, even after the pandemic, it is unlikely that academic meetings simply return to the old status quo. "

The report of Ithaka announces the creation of a cohort of academic societies that will explore and help shape the future of the academic meeting, through traditional, hybrid and online ways. The cohort, which will be co-organized by JSTOR Labs and financed by the Alfred Foundation P. Sloan, will participate in research, collaboration and design design to address the various challenges facing long-term planning associations for multimodal conferences.

While this effort is starting, the Ithaka report offers information on how associations planned and executed conferences from March 2020 until last month. This preliminary research was guided by three questions, with respect to 13 main professional associations:

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  • How have societies adapted their annual meetings against the pandemic?
  • What lessons about the future of annual meetings can we learn from their experiences doing it?
  • What questions and themes should you guide future research aimed at supporting these important forms of academic communication?


    In the period of time studied, the 13 companies had 19 programmed annual meetings. Of those, six were canceled. Most of these happened in the spring and summer of 2020. The report notes that the "cancellation" is a complicated term, however, in which only two meetings were canceled directly, while four were replaced by some kind of virtual program . The American Historical Association, for example, canceled its meeting of early 2021 and replaced it with what it described as a platform of "platform of online opportunities to bring together historian communities". The American Sociological Association canceled its 2020 and 20201 meetings, which replace both virtual meetings.

    Ithaka attributes this complicated nomenclature, in part, to possible legal concerns surrounding the use of force majeure clauses in contracts associations with the meeting. Sellers That is, the termination of an event may be linked to the need to finish a site contract or conference site, according to the report. In any case, Ithaka urges more transparency and rationalization of language with respect to this hidden side of annual meetings.

    "A laudable effect of the pandemic is that societies are beginning to communicate the financial costs of meetings to Members as part. Of their communication around plans to proceed or cancel meetings in person "He says the report. Take note that the American Academy of Religion, for example, told its members this year that riding a fully hybrid annual meeting would add $ 4.3 million to its conference expenses (opted for a meeting in person, with a limited number of virtual sessions ). After all, the Ithaka report continues, there are "significant costs associated with changes in modality". Such challenges will be presented prominently in the next project of Ithaka and JSTOR Labs. Googleg.cmd.push (Function () Googleg.Display ("DFP-AD-Article_in_Article"););

    Platforms, registration and assistance

    With respect to platform associations used to deliver your virtual meetings, most use zoom for at least some sessions. This is online with Itaka's previous research that finds a strong dependence on "basic web seminar platforms" for

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