Attending Scholarly Events During the Pandemic

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2023-06-20

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Abstract

When WHO identified Covid-19 as a pandemic in 2020, the resulting international lockdowns required immediate changes to all aspects of the scholarly enterprise, as in-person formats transferred to online modalities. The objective of this survey was to understand the impact of the pandemic on preferences about attending scholarly events, including conferences, workshops, and seminars. It was distributed to international communities in classical studies, ancient studies, archaeology, medieval studies, public history, and related fields. Since the sample was entirely voluntary, the results are only suggestive.

The attendance factor which changed most dramatically from pre- and post- pandemic was personal interest, from 38.3% of respondents to 54.01%. Accessibility accommodations and assistive technologies nearly tripled in importance after the pandemic started (from 2.4% to 6.7%). The degree to which geographic location, affordability and institutional support influenced attendance decreased drastically. Social networking was consistently the least important factor in pre- and post-pandemic attendance (10.8% to 6.7%) but generated the highest number of free text comments(48.8%). More respondents (43.2%) weighed the trade-offs between in-person and online events, followed by those who liked online events (37.6%). Relatively few disliked them (18.0%).

The respondent’s comment quoted above summarizes the value of the survey results as material for reflection. Relevance to research and teaching, personal interest, inclusion, accessibility, and affordability are considerations which cut across disciplines, academic status and employment. The survey results suggest that online and hybrid events lift some of the barriers to scholarly communication and communities.

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Boers, Greta, and Joyce Chapman (2023). Attending Scholarly Events During the Pandemic. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28253.