Category: conference

How to design an award-winning conference poster

A good academic conference poster serves a dual purpose: it is both an effective networking tool and a means by which to articulately communicate your research. But many academics fail to produce a truly visually arresting conference poster and so opportunities to garner interest and make connections are lost. Tullio Rossi offers guidance on how to produce an outstanding conference poster, considering […]

How to make the most of an academic conference – a checklist for before, during and after the meeting

Going to an academic conference is an exciting opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and exchange stimulating ideas. However, to make the most of a conference requires a lot of hard work before, during, and after the meeting itself. Marta Teperek provides a checklist of things to do at each of these stages.   Before the conference Hurray! You are going […]

Equality won’t happen by itself: our attempt to address it at IDCC


And so it began…

We’ve made a concerted effort over the years to be representative at IDCC, largely thanks to Liz Lyon’s shaping of the conference programme, and I feel we’ve been successful in creating an open, welcoming atmosphere where all delegates are able to share their ideas and build new collaborations, irrespective of their backgrounds. There’s always more you can do though.

I saw a Tweet about the Carter et al research into women’s participation in asking questions at seminars and was intrigued that something as simple as preferencing who got to ask the first question could have such an effect. I know from experience that I’ve often had a question but not been able to pluck up the courage to ask. Would I really feel more confident by hearing others like me go first?

We honestly didn’t know what the reaction would be. I expected it to be obvious that we’d invited all-female chairs and to get some kickback about positive discrimination, but only Rachael Kotarski noticed and commented on this pre-conference. Others remarked on how many female speakers there were, but gender equality wasn’t really a topic until Kevin shared statistics on it in his closing remarks.

Those closing remarks followed a powerful and emotive keynote by Nancy McGovern. I’d proposed inviting her but to my shame hadn’t looked at what she was going to cover. I assumed it would be about digital preservation, but her personal reflections on community building, radical collaboration and inclusivity couldn’t have been a more perfect close to the event. Nancy put forward an impassioned and eloquent argument that diversity of all kinds enriches the communities we are part of and the progress they make. We should always have a broad table and come to collaborations in a spirit of being truly open-minded, willing to listen, compromise and be challenged.

Last year I was invited to sit on the FAIR Data Expert Group by the European Commission. I was initially surprised and a little daunted by the breadth of experience and seniority of other members. I hadn’t identified myself as part of that particular community and had to overcome a number of barriers in my own mind to accept. It’s testament to the other members of the Group, and particularly Simon Hodson in his style of chairing, that I’ve felt welcomed, empowered to state my opinions, and unfazed when these are challenged. The experience has helped me to acknowledge the value of my expertise and appreciate why I was invited in the first place.

All of the fora we engage in as a community should be diverse, open and inclusive. Unconscious bias and self-limiting behaviours are really hard to overcome, but it is incumbent on all of us to act respectfully, call out unfair treatment, and support everyone to make their contribution, irrespective of gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other factors. Tiny changes will slowly adjust the culture and they are easy to make.

Melanie Imming asked whether the experiment we did had been more work. In contrast I think it actually made things easier. We have a good gender balance at IDCC (59% of this year’s participants were female) and there was no shortage of really well-suited options for chairs. In fact we had a large reserve list, but no need to call on it. Everyone accepted the invite and did so immediately. No hanging around and chasing up offers. We gave very minimal session chair guidelines and let things run a natural course.

Speaking to the chairs at the conference, I found that several had experienced multiple emotions like me – surprise at being asked, slight anxiety, excitement, pride, and happiness to be able to give something back to the community that had helped them. As to whether the experiment paid off I don’t know. We weren’t scientific in counting audience members and questions, but I for one asked more questions than I ever have at a conference before. I hope our actions have empowered others to value their opinions more highly and feel confident enough to express them. This is what will drive us forward.

Initiatives at the Library of Congress (Digital Preservation 2016 Talk)

Here’s the text of the presentation I gave during the Initiatives panel at Digital Preservation 2016, held in collaboration with the DLF Forum on November 10, 2016. This presentation is about what the National Digital Initiatives division has been up to in FY16 and what’s coming up in FY17. For a report on the DLF Forum, see this Signal post. […]

PIDapalooza – What, Why, When, Who?

PIDapalooza, a community-led conference on persistent identifiers November 9-10, 2016 Radisson Blu Saga Hotel pidapalooza.org PIDapalooza will bring together creators and users of persistent identifiers (PIDs) from around the world to shape the future PID landscape through the development of tools and services for the research community. PIDs support proper attribution and credit, promote collaboration […]

FOSTER in Scandinavia

It was EARMA (#earmaac2016), the annual gathering of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators in Lulea this week, and Ivo and I were there donning our FOSTER hats to speak about open science in Horizon 2020. Ivo talked about the impact open science can have on proposals, sharing reviewer feedback he’s collated to show how positively (or negatively!) things can be perceived. It shows the strength that can be added to proposals when support is provided by the institution, and echoes the positive experiences we’ve seen in the UK where universities help researchers to craft robust DMPs. 
 
 
My contribution to the conference is thanks to Vanessa Ravagni of the University of Trento. She proposed a session on Horizon 2020 to explain how open science is a key part of the daily workflow for research managers. I set the scene by explaining what is required by the European Commission in the Open Research Data pilot, and Vanessa and Niahm Brennan of Trinity College Dublin gave examples of how they have been supporting researchers at their universities. Both picked up on the need to engage with researchers to understand their concerns and Niahm gave a great list of typical questions, which resonate with what we’ve heard at DCC. The overlap between ethical approval processes and DMPs also came out in discussion and salutary lessons were shared about researchers being distraught at having to destroy really valuable data as this was written into consent agreements unwittingly. 
 
It was a fleeting visit to Lulea for the FOSTER team, but enough time for dinner and a drink with the Trinity College Dublin cohort. Working our way through the gin menu and watching the sun slowly dip was the perfect end to the day. Next year EARMA will be in Valetta in Malta. It will be a few weeks earlier on 24-26 April, so all those planning to submit papers get ready to write your abstracts soon. 

 
The FOSTER Scandi tour continues next week. We have a fully booked workshop on Wednesday 29th June on Open Science at the Core of Libraries. We’ll be demonstrating the FOSTER portal and doing group activity to define learning objectives and plan the content for new courses. Come prepared to work!

Science Boot Camp West

Last week Stanford Libraries hosted the third annual Science Boot Camp West (SBCW 2015), “… building on the great Science Boot Camp events held at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2013 and at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2014. Started in Massachusetts and spreading throughout the USA, science boot camps for librarians are […]

The DataCite Meeting in Nancy, France

Last week I took a lovely train ride through the cow-dotted French countryside to attend the 2014 DataCite Annual Conference. The event was held at the Institut de l’information Scientifique et Technique (INIST) in Nancy, France, which is about 1.5 hours by train outside of Paris. INIST is the French DataCite member (more on DataCite later). […]

It takes a data management village

A couple of weeks ago, information scientists, librarians, social scientists, and their compatriots gathered in Toronto for the 2014 IASSIST meeting. IASSIST is, of course, an acronym which I always have to look up to remember – International Association for Social Science Information Service & Technology. Despite its forgettable name, this conference is one of […]

Report from RDAP 2014

The 5th annual Research Data Access and Preservation (RDAP) summit was held in San Diego, CA at the end of March. Having presented at the previous year’s event in Baltimore, MD, the DCC’s Martin Donnelly went along to catch up with recent d…