Would a euro a day hold your delegates in sway?

3 minute read

Could we use citation scores to fight science’s replication crisis? And a decidedly novel approach to conference fees…

Tackling research’s replication crisis

Scientific research has a well-documented replication crisis. A large portion of the research published at conferences and in journals just isn’t strong enough to be independently reproduced. This wastes vast amounts of time, energy and money.

So the winner of the 2019 ALPSP Awards caught my eye: a tool using AI to identify and promote reliable research. scite uses machine learning to scan scientific papers and classify the citations within as supporting, contradicting, or simply mentioning the papers they cite. 

scite won’t solve the replication crisis on its own, but it does allow researchers to see how often a scientific article has been supported or contradicted when they’re reading it online. As scite scores become mainstream, it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll affect journal impact factors, and whether they’ll help us assess the quality of conferences.

The first GDPR fines come in to land

Remember all the hubbub about GDPR last summer? Well, it’s taken until this year for the first fines from the EU’s new data protection legislation to land. France’s data protection regulator slapped a €50 million fine on tech-giant Google earlier this year for failing to comply with GDPR obligations. And more recently, the UK’s data protection authority fined British Airways more than €200 million and Marriott International around half that amount.

But data protection fines aren’t just for tech giants and the travel industry. Your conference could be in breach if you’re mishandling your delegates’ data. With 2019 shaping up to be the year of GDPR enforcement, make sure your conference is GDPR compliant.

5G will do so much more than banish bad wifi

Bad wifi is one of the biggest gripes on the ground at conferences. But with 5G networks expected to become widespread next year, it could soon become a distant memory. And 5G won’t just slay wifi deadzones. It also paves the way for the video tech that will make delegates’ onsite experience more interactive, and extend the reach of conferences across time and dispersed locations. 

Associations like the Radiological Society of North America already have healthy virtual programmes as part of their annual meeting. But as 5G drops, and the possibilities of virtual reality expand the traditional conference programme, hybrid conferences may be just the beginning.

On leading your tribe

“If you are ok with failing in the small, you will succeed in the large. If you do nothing, there is a 100% chance you will fail.” My inbox is a crowded place, but Seth Godin’s daily email is one thing in it I always make time to read, usually over breakfast. His principled approach to challenging the status quo has guided my hand through a lot of tough decisions at Ex Ordo

Here Seth is, on point as usual, talking to Association Chat’s KiKi L’Italien about some of the tough questions associations should be asking this year. If your organisation’s purpose is to lead a tribe, give this video a watch.

Would a euro a day hold your delegates in sway?

Conference registration fees are political. Making changes to them, even much-needed, long-overdue changes, can ruffle feathers across your board and amongst your senior members. So consider Carla Nagel, from the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association. After her association lost €14K at a disaster conference, she wanted a way to better predict delegate numbers before a single venue contract was signed.

Her answer? Increase conference fees by a euro a day. “We started selling tickets a year before the show for 100 Euros per day. Every day we added one Euro to the price. Meaning that a full conference ticket a day before the event cost around 930 Euros for a two-day conference. Believe me, there are still people who sign up a week before the conference. And there are fans of the conference that buy a ticket for 200 Euros the day bookings open.”

How’s it going? Well, a year after the disaster event, Carla’s conference had tripled its delegate numbers and doubled turnover.

Not bad. But could you sell an approach like that to your board…?

Paul Killoran

Back when Paul was an engineering student, he didn’t even know what a conference paper was. Then he dipped his toe in the research conference world, realised how awful the software was, and decided to build Ex Ordo. Sometimes, life can be funny like that.