The Big Issues
Scientists today are facing a number of challenges that range across both disciplinary boundaries and geographical locations. The Big Issues conference is an opportunity to come together and discuss the issues facing all scientists, regardless of background, discipline, or nationality. The conference is entirely digital, and will take place over three Wednesdays in September, with each session addressing a different “big issue”: Sustainable Science, Open Access, and Mental Health.
Sustainable Science (15th of September)
Science comes at a cost to the environment. Travelling for conferences and field work, lab waste, and energy expenditure from electricity hungry hardware all take a toll on the environment. Small changes can have a big impact on the environmental cost, but it is often difficult to figure out how to make those changes. In our first session we will discuss the changes we can make in our everyday working lives to ensure a greener future for the sciences.
Open Access (22nd of September)
Whether open access comes in the form of sharing data, publications, software, or anything else, it has the potential to lead to better scientific outcomes. With an ever increasing range of digital technologies at our fingertips we have never been in a better place to push for a more transparent and accessible science. In this session, our focus is on strategies that promote an open-access and sharing culture within all of the sciences, and a discussion of how to overcome the main obstacles standing in the way, whether legal, technical, or methodological in nature.
Mental Health (29th of September)
Persons working in the sciences face significant challenges to their mental wellbeing. Pressure to publish, job uncertainty, and an unhealthy workplace culture are just a few sources of stress burdening working scientists today. These in turn have led to an increased incidence in anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. What, then, can we do to support one another and ourselves? What strategies can institutions adopt to support their staff? And what can we do about the causes of mental health crises? We will discuss what can be done to support one another and ourselves, what strategies can institutions adopt to support their staff, and what we can do about the causes of mental health crises.
Open & Accessible
We hope to encourage communication and networking between persons from all backgrounds and fields. Whether you are a tenured professor or a Master’s student, in Bengaluru, Paris or LA, we want you to be involved and join in the discussion. As such, our conference is free to attend and we are working to ensure that talks will be close-captioned and available online prior to the sessions. We have included plans for a number of digital breakout sessions, and opportunities to meet and discuss your ideas with fellow attendees. If you are interested in participating directly in the conference events, take a look at our Call for Submissions.
We intend to take advantage of the powers of digital conferencing. The talks will be available online before and after the conference, so you do not need to worry about missing anything. Participants (speakers, chairs, and poster presenters) will have the opportunity to have profiles on the website so you can read about their work. We will also be actively encouraging the direct participation from attendees during the live sessions – including panels, Q&A’s, roundtables, and of course, the coffee breaks.
All you will need to attend the conference is a stable internet connection, though if you are intending to join in a roundtable or break room, you will need a webcam and microphone. We will open registration nearer the time of the conference, and announce this via the Museum of the Scientist’s Social Media. Alternatively, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you once registration opens.
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