[ASC-list] A couple of things on conferences and paying

Rod Lamberts rod.lamberts at anu.edu.au
Sat Nov 16 05:46:47 UTC 2013

Just wanted to throw in a few things about conferences from my experience to help add more context to the stuff being batted about on the list these last few days. 

I've been attending and speaking at conferences around the globe for 16+ years, most Sci comm related, and I have seen that:

1) In every single case, unless specifically invited or contracted to deliver a keynote, or their mere presence clearly would boost attendance, speakers paid registrations fees and also covered their own travel and accommodation. Every single case. The closest equivalent to ASC would probably be PCST conferences, and this is certainly the way it happens there. 

2) I've never been to or been part of organizing a conference where there weren't (usually many) more people vying to speak than spaces available for them. Given point 1, it seems to me that's a solid sign that many people/organizations see value in speaking at conferences...

3) I have never been to a decent (or even crappy) national or international conference that's cheaper than the ASC conference. In fact the only really cheap conferences I'm aware of have immense industry backing. For example, medical conferences subsidized by pharmaceutical companies.

Yes, I'm fortunate in that conferencing is part of my job and so covered by my employer. 
Yes, that's not the case for everyone. 
But, I imagine if my employer wasn't paying and I still felt our conference might be useful to me, I'd probably take the 2 years between each ASC event to put the cash aside. Twenty, maybe twenty five bucks a week over the 100 weeks between conferences should cover it pretty well I'd say...


Dr RG Lamberts
Deputy Director
Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science
A Centre for the National Commission of UNESCO

The Australian National University

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