Bali/Japan - one wish

Rupert Ormond rupert.ormond at
Wed Nov 8 07:02:10 EST 2000

Dear Robert et al.

May I add a few comments to the debate about the next ICR symposium and its
proceedings, partly reflecting chats with various folk in Bali.  David and
team of course did amazingly well with such a big event, so none of this is
intended to be critical of that meeting.

With 14 parallel sessions I (and I suspect many others) found it a huge
frustration to be missing 13 / 14ths of the meeting even though I was
there. (This is at least a consolation to the people who couldn't make the
meeting at all).  And with so many sessions and papers it was perhaps
inevitable that closely similar papers on the same topic sometimes ended up
in several different mini-symposia.  Added to this such were the queues for
registration that many of us didn't manage to get our book of abstract
until late on the Monday, and the idea of reading abstracts ahead of time
to decide which session to attend proved impossible.

Related to the large number of papers / sessions, while I know many
participants find it difficult to get funding unless they are presenting a
paper, I suspect that had it been clear earlier that only 400 contributions
can be published in the Proceedings, not quite so many folk would have
offered quite so many papers.

One solution therefore might be to adopt a model that has been tried
successfully elsewhere.  That is to Abandon publishing any Proceedings (at
least of non-plenary lectures) following the conference, but instead to
allow full one page abstracts, i.e. 3 or 4 times as long as the present
ones, long enough to include one or two tables or figures.  Possible
advantages are:
1. it does away with the work and expense of publishing glossy proceedings.
2. we get a better record of the main points of the presentations we didn't
get to, and get it at or before the meeting, rather than a year later.
3. not so many folk would submit papers just as an easy way of getting a
Combined with the idea of having the proceedings, or enhanced abstracts on
the web (and CD) as suggested by other coral-listers, this could mean we'd
be much better placed ahead of time to select the people we are keen to
hear or liaise with, and we'd all have a better idea of the range of
material being presented.

If I can allude briefly to a second wish, the other frustration was that on
at least a couple of evenings two or three overlapping-interest fringe
meetings clashed, and indeed seemed to have been organised without
awareness of each other.

Trust the above might be helpful.  
Best wishes

Rupert Ormond

Dr. Rupert Ormond
University Marine Biological Station Millport,
Isle of Cumbrae,
UK  KA28 0EG

email: rupert.ormond at
tel: (44)-01475-530581
fax: (44)-01475-530601

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