As every educational dimension is adapting to virtual or online techniques, academic conferences are also in the lead to embrace this new form of networking. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic many companies have shifted to online operations with the help of technology. They conduct regular virtual conferences to keep a tab on the employee and company progress. Similarly, education too, has opened the doors to online technologies to fight the stagnancy in education due to the pandemic. With the major impact on scholarly ecosystem, there is an urgent need for the education system to up their game and come up with new techniques to survive the situation.
Academic conferences are currently experiencing a major lag as the events remain cancelled for an undefined period. As a result of these cancellations, attendees who have been preparing for months and who have invested time and money into it, have being bearing the brunt. They are losing out on opportunity to discover and share early-stage research. Early researchers who depend on such conferences to get better opportunities and insights for growth, are also majorly affected by this.
Conferences play a vital role in the scientific ecosystem. Hence, it is imperative that these conferences are organized in the best interest of the delegates that will be a value add to them. Fortunately, there are many advanced technological tools that are available for organizers to arrange the conferences for the delegates. Easily integrable technologies that are cloud based are at the fore front of digitizing conferences. Technology has equipped organizers to embrace new ways of making the academic conferences a success. There are many advanced applications that support the smooth coordination of such huge conferences. All content and material can be made available offline by using the right tools of technology.
Academic conferences provide a platform for researchers to attend and present their findings and gain knowledge about the latest work in their field. They get the opportunity to discuss research and build network in a casual setting. It is obvious that face to face conversation are preferred over virtual interactions, hence physical conferences cannot be replaced, but the experience of digitized conferences can be enhanced with the integration of advanced technology.
However, the main question is, will virtual academic conferences be the new way of conducting these conferences? The pandemic has hit us without a definite time and scientists are currently unable to put an expiration date to it. Which means this situation where social distancing is a major factor, will remain with us for a long time. Subsequently, we must start adapting to new techniques to deal with the situation. Academic conferences that attract many audiences can be a catalyst to spread the coronavirus faster. Hence, the reinstatement of these conferences is not on the agenda for the distant future. Having said that, it is difficult to judge whether they will be replaced by virtual conferences, but digitized conferences serve as the best solution for the current situation. We can only hope that things get back to normal soon. Until then, technological hacks and innovation are the upbeat resources to keep new researchers hopeful.