Conferences and meetings are among the most venerable and vital services scholarly societies provide to members. They serve as gathering places for communities and important venues for scholarly communication. They are also essential to many societies’ financial models. The global pandemic has accelerated existing pressures on academic conferences, forcing societies to adopt virtual and hybrid formats. It has become clear that these new modalities have tangible benefits to members and the potential to reach new constituencies, but financial and staffing models to support hybrid and virtual meetings over the long-term remain illusive. Finding solutions to these challenges will require creativity, collaboration, and careful consideration. They will also require flexibility, given that societies vary greatly in size, resources, staffing, membership composition, and culture. 

Earlier this fall, Ithaka S+R and JSTOR Labs received generous funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to convene a cohort of scholarly societies to address these challenges. Using a combination of dialogue, research, and design-informed thinking, leaders from 17 societies will collaborate to chart a sustainable path forward for scholarly meetings:

  • American Arachnological Society
  • American Association of Geographers
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Historical Association
  • American Philosophical Association
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Sociological Association
  • American Statistical Association
  • Bibliographical Society of America
  • Genetics Society of America
  • Middle Eastern Studies Association
  • Mormon History Association
  • Population Association of America
  • The Oceanography Society
  • The Protein Society

Key findings from this project will be published in late 2022, and we look forward to sharing updates along the way.