[Coral-List] Registration cost for 12th ICRS

Michael Risk riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Thu Jul 21 18:19:06 EDT 2011

Good day.

I think by now that the feelings of the coral reef community, at least those subscribing to this list, are pretty clear. What is NOT entirely clear is, how did we get here, and how do we avoid going here again?

Those of us who have organised large international conferences are aware that the main way to keep costs down is: everyone on the OC has to work like a dog, put their career on hold for 6 months, and involve as many students as possible. This is a tough thing to do, and mostly all one gets from it is warm fuzzies, but at least there is the knowledge that the profession has been advanced. Outsourcing is the easy way out.

And it IS possible to hold conferences at a reasonable cost. International conferences with which I have been recently involved or will be in the near future, all held in resort towns, have the following student registration fees (I only cite students' fees because-if we can't get them to our meetings we should just quit having meetings): $225, $65, and 100Euros. All these include receptions, mixers, CD's and-some even the T-shirt!

At some of these meetings I was/will be a Plenary, which prompts me to expound on ethical policies on airfares. It is legitimate to cover expenses of Plenaries-but no honoraria. (One hopes one has had the nous to invite those Plenaries who wish to advance the profession.) Many organisations have written policies covering air travel, but ethically: if you are spending taxpayers' money, or Society funds, travel Economy or don't travel. Things are a little different if one has been hired by an organisation with deeper pockets: my own policy, when consulting, is that any flight over 6 hours is Business Class. This is partly in the interests of efficiency-after an Economy trip across the Pacific-I don't know about you, but I am buggered for a day or so.

I hear the comments about it being expensive to travel far away, yadda yadda-these surface at every meeting. Some clever ISRS member should calculate the centre of gravity of memberships-my guess would be somewhere in Europe. The comment that there was only one applicant for this Conference is, I think, disingenuous. I recall, many years ago (so my recollection is vague) a feeler-application from some town in Europe-France or Italy. Their point was that Europe was central, that they could house all the people and activities at a decent price, and field trips would require extra travel. The Big Reef-Invested Countries (BRICs) gave that application such short shrift that one would hesitate to try again.

So the origins of the present situation are pretty clear. The only good news I can see coming out of this is: in future, members will pay more attention to their votes for Council. In addition-there has been so much flack stirred up here that the NEXT Symposium, assuming there will be one, will be very different.

On 2011-07-21, at 7:16 AM, Richard Dunne wrote:

> Thanks to Peter for these incisive words.
> The "coral reef science community" thrives, alas the President and 
> Council of ISRS do not. When did members last hear from the President? 
> When did they last receive a copy of 'Reef Encounter'? What has happened 
> since the 11th ICRS? Are there to be any 2011 ISRS Graduate Fellowships? 
> Will there be a Darwin Medal awarded at the 2012 ICRS - if so when will 
> there be a call for nominations? ISRS please awake from your slumbers.
> Thankfully, the journal 'Coral Reefs'; is the one shining light in all 
> of this fog. Under the continued editorship of Rolf Bak and Betsy 
> Gladfelter it now ranks 3rd in its class with an Impact Factor of 3.78. 
> It has never been so high in its 20 year history.
> Richard P Dunne
> On 20/07/2011 22:36, Peter Sale wrote:
>> Not bad at all.  It only took a bit over a week for the organizers of
>> ICRS12 to respond to the thread of queries about the registration charges
>> for next year's meeting.  Intriguing though that neither the Conference
>> Convenor nor the President of ISRS appeared able to communicate with the
>> list directly.  Instead David Yellowlees had to combine and then forward
>> their responses.  I wonder what that means?
>> Re the content of their explanation:  Budgets get built; they do not arise
>> out of thin air.  Apparently, those doing the budget building felt that a
>> fee of AUD $940 (the early-bird rate for ISRS members) was appropriate. It
>> was not.
>> What has happened to the coral reef science community?
>> Peter Sale
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Michael Risk
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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