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Scientists discover upsides of virtual meetings

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Science  01 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6490, pp. 457-458
DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6490.457

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Summary

As COVID-19 scuttles scientists' huge annual meetings and small society conferences alike, many conference organizers are taking the show online. Now, months into this unanticipated virtual venture, many scientists are finding that the good outweighs the bad. Yes, many lament the loss of inperson get-togethers and fortuitous collaborations arising from coffee station eavesdropping. But they are also finding that virtual conferences are far more convenient, less costly, more environmentally friendly, and offer moderators the opportunity to subtly direct the flow of discussion and audience questions via backchannel private messaging. The result? A high-quality conference experience that is often more egalitarian, equitable, and diverse than inperson conferences, they say.

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