Virtual conference tools by Copernicus Meetings

30 April 2020

Turning the challenges of the dreadful COVID-19 crisis into opportunities, Copernicus Meetings has launched various features in 2020 to allow even large conferences to take place virtually.

Smaller workshops allow live presentations through various online conference tools. However, when bringing a large number of scientists from all around the world together and giving all presentation means the same attention (i.e. oral, poster, and PICO presentations), the scientific exchange needs different ways of communication and opportunities beyond a fully packed week blocked for the originally planned physical conference.

From 2020, all abstracts submitted through the online tools of Copernicus Meetings have received DOIs and have been treated like scientific preprints distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. In addition, our tools allow uploading presentation materials prior to the event and revision beyond the actual conference week.

Authors are asked to open their presentation materials for community comments and discussion with colleagues in the form of author comments. This shapes the presentation materials prior to the conference and prolongs the discussion beyond this period.

Session conveners are asked to upload session materials, introducing the topic and raising questions for a discussion. When such sessions are scheduled through the online tools of Copernicus Meetings, live text-based chat channels per session are opened during the scheduled session time. Attendees can now watch the presentation materials, ask questions, and obtain replies by the authors. Conveners can moderate these chats, including banning attendees with abusive behaviour.

These tools were developed in dialogue with the European Geosciences Union. Their General Assembly 2020 was the first conference organized by Copernicus Meetings and physically cancelled in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The conference brings together around 15,000 scientists from more than 100 countries with 18,000 abstracts in 700 sessions.

Later in 2020, the same tools will be used for other conferences to enable virtual meetings ranging from 500 to 1,000 or more attendees. Experience more and take a look!