TDWG 2020 annual conference
Standards that describe and support the exchange of biodiversity information are a critical scientific infrastructure. They enable data to be integrated in support of research, as well as decision-making and planning for conservation. Ultimately, standards extend the usability of data across taxa, scientific disciplines, and administrative boundaries. Our annual Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) conferences serve two purposes:
- to provide a forum for developing, refining, and extending standards in response to new challenges and opportunities; and
- to provide a showcase for biodiversity informatics – much of which relies on the standards created by TDWG and other organizations.
In 2020, we cannot meet in person, so TDWG 2020 will be virtual -- a collection of online working sessions, webinar-style symposia, presentations, panel discussions, and recorded presentations. This year we are separating working sessions from the virtual conference. Working sessions will be scheduled during the week of September 21-25, and the virtual conference will be scheduled the week of October 19-23. This separation will help us minimize parallel sessions, optimize the technologies, and avoid scheduling conflicts with other organizations. It will also give participants in our working sessions time to synthesize their results into presentations.
Call for contributions
|Session Dates||Session Type||Submission Deadline|
Working Session proposals due
Session Proposals Due
Working sessions for interest/task groups, workshops, and hackathons
Working sessions will be structured as meetings in which all participants can be enabled to speak. Requests to convene working sessions (including interest and task groups) during the week of September 21-25 should be submitted through a short survey. All I/TG proposals should be endorsed, if not submitted, by the I/TG convener. The survey will close August 1, and a draft schedule of working sessions will be posted on August 17.
Symposia, panel discussions, lightning talks, etc.
Proposals to organize one or more sessions during the week of October 19-23 are being collected via a second short survey. This survey will remain open until June 19. Organizers should note the locations and time zones of all known significant contributors. They should also indicate whether the session already has a full complement of contributors, or whether other relevant talks may be considered for inclusion.
Individual contributions (presentations, e-posters)
Abstracts are required for all presentations and e-posters, including those that are part of a symposium, and should be submitted through the Pensoft ARPHA system for BISS. The call for individual contributions will be posted June 22nd and will close August 1. Detailed instructions for making submissions through ARPHA will be distributed and posted online before the call opens.
Registration will be required to participate in the online events, but registration will be free. The services required to run an online conference, however, are not free. So we encourage all participants to become TDWG members, either by affiliation with an institutional member or by paying individual membership dues for the 2020 calendar year (\$75). Request an invoice to pay membership online, and help TDWG defray the cost of running the conference.
Abstract publishing fees
Abstracts will be required for all contributions (i.e., all presentations and e-posters), and will comprise the Proceedings of TDWG 2020, a collection in Biodiversity Information Science and Standards. Normally, we build publishing costs into the registration fees for the conference. But without a registration fee this year, we are going to follow the usual model for open-access publishing: authors pay to publish, and the paper is then free to read forever. The fee for each abstract will be 40€. The publishing fee may be waived, however, in cases of financial hardship. Authors please note that abstracts in TDWG Proceedings can be as large as a small paper (up to 6,000 characters, including references, authors and affiliations), and may include figures and links to related media. You can publish something significant for a nominal fee; less than 1/10th of the cost to publish a full article.
One of the biggest challenges in planning a virtual conference for TDWG is that our community is global. Time zone differences make simultaneous participation for everyone impractical -- every session will be scheduled in the middle of the night for someone. We will mitigate these conflicts by:
- Distributing the inconvenience as equitably as we can;
- Recording presentations and discussion for participants who can’t attend a session;
- Accommodating pre-recorded presentations for speakers who can’t be “live”; and
- Running some sessions twice if demand warrants.
The figure below shows the distribution of the TDWG community across time zones, as revealed by our recent survey.
Based on this distribution, the two most effective session structures will be a trans-Atlantic one, from UTC-7 to UTC+3, and a Eurasian one, from UTC-0 to UTC +12. Sessions timed to reach wide geographic ranges, such as these, will require people in the earliest and latest time zones to participate outside “normal” working hours. We hope to make scheduling decisions that accommodate critical contributors and maximize the potential audience.
Session length and presentation length
Online events that have taken place already show that many people find it difficult to follow presentations effectively for much more than an hour without a break. We hope to structure sessions as blocks no longer than 60 minutes without a break. We intend to limit the total time allocated to each presenter to 15 minutes, meaning that the introduction and actual presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, leaving a few minutes for questions and another minute or so to set up the next speaker.
We will hold technology testing sessions prior to each week of the conference, which will allow presenters to test their software, camera, and microphone.
Please send questions to: email@example.com