The idea of an online conference has been percolating within the twittersphere for some time to address several well-acknowledged issues with the conventional conference format; namely, the large carbon footprint of conference travel, the impact of travel on work/life balance, and the increasing rates of disruption and cost of international travel.
In parallel, the technical platforms designed for hosting a multi-location, open forum have significantly advanced, further motivating the development of alternative mechanisms for research dissemination. We decided to take a leadership role in implementing the concept.
Therefore, in addition to disseminating technical information to the photonics community, POM has a larger overarching mission. Briefly, the four goals are:
- improve accessibility of conference attendance
- reduce carbon footprint of conference travel
- reduce burden on family of conference travel
- reduce the cost of conference participation
Our inspiration comes from several places. The below are just a small sampling of the many discussions currently occurring around trying to develop alternative approaches to scientific meetings. If you have articles that you would like to see posted, please send a link!
- Olivier Hamant, Timothy Saunders and Virgile Viasnoff, Seven steps to make travel to scientific conferences more sustainable, Nature Career Column, 2019.
- Jon Cartwright, Work travel doubles researchers’ carbon footprint, Physics World, 2019.
- Editorial, Scientists should explore alternatives to flying, Nature Nanotechnology, 2019.
- Joachim Ciers, Aleksandra Mandic, Laszlo Daniel Toth, and Giel Op ’t Veld, Carbon Footprint of Academic Air Travel: A Case Study in Switzerland, Sustainability, 11 (1) 2019.
- Caroline Levine et al, Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Academic Travel, Inside Higher Ed, 2019.
- Anna McKie, Scholars want sabbaticals and placements to fight climate change, Times Higher Education, Oct 2019.
- Richard Davies, How can internationalisation be compatible with carbon neutrality?, Times Higher Education, Oct 2019.
- Peter Kalmus, Fly less to convey urgency, Science, 365 (6460) 2019.
Below are a couple articles discussing POM!
- Photonics Media, Photonics Leaders Join together for global, online academic conference, Dec 2019.
- Ellie Bothwell, Universities urged to radically cut flights to help climate, Times Higher Education, Nov 2019.