Why I passed on attending #scio14

For the last 2 years I have been incredibly fortunate to attend and participate in what I think is the best conference ever, namely Science Online. Antony Williams introduced me to this conference and we had a great time discussing ideas each year I attended. The format and topics of discussion were excellent and they prompted me to blog about them at length. I also met some really fantastic people at the meeting. By the end of last year’s meeting though I was on the fence about attending for a third year or giving it a break so that others could experience it.

My reasons were as follows. Firstly, my scientific interests always evolve and I really wanted to not get into a groove of attending a meeting just because its local, which as I blogged about previously is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because travel and lodging is zero while its a curse because the social side of the meeting would take a hit because of proximity to home and family. I often wondered why some time during the day was not set a side for a social event rather than in the evening?  Also, towards the end of the year my workload just went off the charts (well it started much earlier, I just did not admit it) so how could I justify going to the meeting when I have other priorities? Finally, I just was not organized and ready to register in time.

Later in 2013 a lot of very upsetting revelations came out, which I do not intend to go into, but which ultimately resulted in the ScienceOnline Board making some changes. I have to say that under the leadership of Karyn Traphagen ScienceOnline is on a very sound footing and I hope that the organization continues to go from strength to strength. I think that the changes may also help it shift away from being like a club, to something that all attendees feel a part of. It is my hope that in future years I will try to attend and participate again. With luck, 2014 may give me time to refresh my store of ideas so that I can offer something novel in future.

This is not to say I will be hibernating, far from it. Over the next few months I will be attending the SLAS2014 conference again, with both a talk and a poster as well as the World symposium 2014 at which I will have a poster. At both of these meetings I will be highlighting the mobile app work for both TB and rare diseases, respectively. Interestingly both meetings will be in San Diego. While neither of these meetings has the cachet of scienceonline, they are important for my work to gain exposure. Similarly, following these I will be attending the ACS in Dallas, which is also important for professional development. So my focus for the next few months will be making sure I am ready for these 3 big meetings. I will of course be posting slides and posters as they are done.

Already the year has begun at a pretty hectic pace – lets see how long this continues. I hope to take a breather at some point and reflect on the longer term plans for meetings. I hope my passing on #scio14 for at least a year was the right thing to do for me.

Karyn Traphagen

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  1. sean says:

    More on world symposium 2014 can be found here http://www.lysosomaldiseasenetwork.org/indications/Indications_December_2013.pdf

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