Large gatherings are on the minds of most scientific and scholarly societies as we navigate public safety in the midst of a pandemic. Can they gather together? Should they? This interesting and timely topic came to us from The Scholarly Kitchen in their article, “Scientific and Scholarly Meetings in the Time of Pandemic.

Conference organizers with meetings early in 2020 were forced to either cancel events or reinvent them to fit an online format in the wake of the rapidly moving public health situation. Those with events further out on the calendar, are now in a state of flux as they consider alternative scenarios.

Some professionals and government officials are predicting upwards of two years before large gatherings for professional or pleasure can be sanctioned as safe. In addition to the revenue implications of such a situation, there are the implications for the communities that professional societies serve. Scientific and academic conferences serve many functions including, but not limited to career advancement, communicating research, professional networking, and providing a venue to meet with colleagues from other institutions to plan joint projects.

Melody K. Smith

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