[Coral-List] Reflections on ICRS 11

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Mon Aug 4 10:37:34 EDT 2008

Dear All:

I totally agree with both Phil and Richard. Thank you to the organizers
for a monumental effort handling such a huge number of participants very
well.  But the program itself had some flaws that need fixing for future

Several talks I attended were basically already published (already
emphasized by Phil and Richard) and had no business being presented as a
talk at this meeting.  This cluttered up the program and left less time
for viewing posters. The instructions for the meeting clearly stated
that the material should not have been previously presented or
published, but some folks think that doesn't apply to them.  I am not
sure how the organizers can be on top of the status of so many research
topics, but maybe in the future, submitters must sign a paper confirming
that the work has not been published or presented elsewhere (other
meetings do that.  One issue is the long lag time between submitting
abstracts and the meeting.  People don't want to hold off on submitted
work until after the meeting, so maybe a place to declare that the work
will be submitted before the meeting is OK.  But if's already submitted
or in press, then it should not be allowed.

I heard about the senior folks who did the "I am so great" routine but
did not witness them myself.  That I heard about it means that it made a
bad impression on those who were at the talks.  

The poor poster presenters got a raw deal this time around:  they had to
miss oral presentations to stand before their posters, but nobody was
there because they were attending oral presentations. There should not
have been talks concurrent with poster sessions.  The two beer
receptions should have been placed among the posters (spread the
beverage tables down the central aisle).

If the meetings remain this large or get any bigger, I suggest doing
away with oral presentations, have a few well selected plenaries (1 or 2
per day), and the rest poster sessions and discussion sessions held
after each poster session (2.5 hrs to view posters on a topic; 1 hour
for general discussion with all presenters and audience interested in
that topic).  If you had only 5 concurrent poster/discussion sessions
per am or pm, you could do 50 topics in one week, and people would only
miss 80 of concurrent events (unless they wanted to travel among the 5
concurrent sessions), rather than miss 92 % of the orals and almost all
the posters.

Alina Szmant

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Coral Reef Research Group
UNCW-Center for Marine Science 
5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
Cell:  (910)200-3913
email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Richard
Sent: Sunday, August 03, 2008 1:09 PM
To: 'coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov'
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Reflections on ICRS 11

Dear Coral Listers

On many of these points I would concur with Phil Dustan from the 
sessions I attended. I would add, or emphasise that:

1. At least one talk I attended was a literature review and presented no

new information/ideas.
2. Two talks contained analysis/data that has already been shown to be 
flawed and had been rejected (in one case by two separate journals).
3.  For at least two talks the authors had decided to change their title

and content and announced this at the start of the talk.
4.  Quite a number of the talks were simply presentations of a paper 
that had recently been accepted or published.

I leave Listers to draw their own conclusions as to whether any of these

are appropriate.

I concur that ICRS is an opportunity to present NEW information, or NEW 
ideas, or perhaps also present a different slant on existing research 
which cannot normally be done within the confines of a journal 
publication where the use of visual aids is ideally suited.

Let us hope that the session organisers  weed out inappropriate papers 
from the published proceedings.

Richard P Dunne

West Briscoe, Baldersdale, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, DL12 9UP. UK
Tel +44 1833 650059

Phil Dustan wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> I'm sure you'll all join in thanking all the people that worked so
> to make the ICRS 11 a success.  It was a wonderful opportunity to
> hear, discuss, and share ideas with new and old colleagues alike; well

> worth the expense and time of traveling to Fort Lauderdale.  I think
> can all agree that the meeting was HUGE and it took superhuman efforts

> to make it work as smoothly as it did.  Congrats to Dick Dodge and the
> That said, I'd like to offer the following observations and thoughts
> an effort to improve ICRS 12:
> 1. Too many of the talks I attended went over their allotted time, 
> leaving no time for discussion.
> 2. Too many of the talks I attended were full of information that had 
> already been published.  An extreme example of this was a very senior 
> researcher who must have shown at least 30 slides, each with a bold 
> citation across the bottom.  His talk also ran over by a wide margin. 
> Who gave him the license to waste my time?
> 3.  Too many presentation slides offered far too much information to
> 4. Too many presentations had not bothered to check the pre-internet
> literature, or even basic reference texts such as the Treatise on 
> Invertebrate Paleontology.  The older literature is still full of good

> science.
> 5. It has always been my idea that meetings are occasions to share new

> information, not overwhelm the audience, impress the funding agencies,

> badger us with old facts, reinvented wheels, or pronounce your own 
> revision of history.  Save this kind of stuff for gossip during
> dinner, or drinks.
> As we begin planning for the next symposium, now less than 4 years
> perhaps the next organizing committee could consider some changes such
> Perhaps each talk could be limited to no more than 10 slides with 7 
> minutes for presentation time and 8-10 minutes for questions.
> Additionally, and I think extremely important, presentations should
> only new, unpublished research, not stuff that's already in the
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