So this blog is mostly about plants, but we wanted to quickly give a shoutout to a new article that hits on another topic that’s incredibly important in the world of science.
A recent commentary from Rosetta Blackman and colleagues describes a new framework for planning conferences. The format uses the letters ABCD to describe four important considerations that everyone should keep in mind when planning their next scientific meeting.
The letters ABCD are criteria for selecting speakers, and stand for All continents, Balanced gender, Carbon emission reduction, and Diverse backgrounds. Together these four factors highlight some of the biggest hurdles that we still face in regards to conference inequality.
Although not specifically mentioned in the piece, following this framework can also help address several other issues that remain present in science. For example, the suggestions for reducing carbon emission reduction, which largely involve making online access to the meeting possible, will also increase access for those who may not be able to fly or spend time in large crowds for various physical, mental or care-taking related reasons.
Blackman and colleague’s essay focuses on conference organisation, and primarily on the speakers themselves. However, a further aim for the science community should be to implement ABCD for the entire cohort of conference attendees – ensuring that one of the most important formats for sharing novel scientific works is accessible to all.
Ultimately, science is better the more diversity and balance we’ve got.
Anyway, we strongly encourage you to go and read the original open access piece over here, it’s only a couple of hundred words:
A meeting framework for inclusive and sustainable science (2020). Rosetta C. Blackman, Andreas Bruder, Francis J. Burdon, Peter Convey, W. Chris Funk, Sonja C. Jähnig, Mary Alphonce Kishe, Marcelo S. Moretti, Vianny Natugonza, Jan Pawlowski, Rachel Stubbington, Xiaowei Zhang, Ole Seehausen and Florian Altermatt. Nature Ecology and Environment.