Welcome to EAS 2021 !
|Announcement of virtual conference||:||18 Dec 2020|
|Opening of Registration & Abstract submission||:||18 January 2021|
|Abstract submission and fee waiver deadline||:||2 March 2021|
|Acceptance of abstracts||:||Mid-April 2021|
Some EAS members and EAS meeting attendees have asked why a conference fee has to be charged for our Annual Meeting when it is a virtual meeting. The EAS Council and Annual Meeting Board have discussed this issue comprehensively before agreeing on the current fee structure for the virtual EAS 2021 meeting.
The organisation of a 1500+ participant meeting cannot be compared with a smaller online meeting for which an institutional zoom subscription is enough. As you may know the AAS has also moved its last two meetings to a virtual format, and has had very much the same discussion. Although details differ between the two Societies, it is instructive to read what they wrote about this issue recently in a blog post.
In our case, we wish to organise a professionally run meeting with over 1500 participants and a dozen sessions in parallel. We then want to add posters, question and answer / discussion sessions, and social events. To organise this, we need a stable software platform to handle this huge information stream, and to ensure that it works for everyone, from the first session, all the time, and from many different devices and computers. We use a professional system which uses zoom webinar licenses for the actual meetings, a separate custom-built e-poster system, slack for a discussion forum, and various other elements that need to work together. All of this costs money, and software license costs rise faster than the increasing number of participants.
Apart from this, we need a lot of the same infrastructure used for an in-person meeting, including registration, abstract handling, managing all the different SOCs, creating the final programme, managing exhibitors, training and managing volunteers and technical support staff, and managing the substantial finances involved in organising a meeting. Most of this support is provided by our long-term partner Kuoni. There is no other option, as the EAS has less than 1 FTE staff and the work involved is far too much to be done by volunteer astronomers.
It is also worth noting that we offer many more grants than we used to. These allow members from less affluent regions to attend the meeting. With the relatively low cost of attending a virtual meeting this is now a possibility, and allows us to offer a substantial number of fee waivers for 2021. This should lead to a more inclusive and diverse meeting.
We look forward to seeing many EAS members and non-members at the 2021 meeting. Those who truly cannot find funds to pay the registration fee are urged to apply for a fee waiver.
The EAS considers its annual EWASS meetings to be a privileged occasion for free and frank interchange of scientific ideas, as well as for the nurturing and creation of professional and social contacts. Any abuse of power or inappropriate behaviour has no place at EAS 2021.
On 23 January 2018, EAS Council has adopted the EAS Ethics Statement and Guidelines for Good Practice. These will apply during EAS 2021 and all participants are urged to read the document and follow its recommendations.