Hope for the best, plan for the worst: remote plans for ECogS 2021

ECogS 2021 takes place in November, and while prospects for travel are uncertain given the current Covid-19 conditions, there is also a fair possibility that some (or many) travel bans will have been lifted by then. In light of this, here is our plan to make ECogS the best community-building experience and scientific exchange possible!

Encouraging physical presence

Let's start with a maybe obvious goal: we want to encourage physical presence at ECogS as much as possible. Physical presence helps in building a community, lets everyone remain focused on the physical space at hand, and creates encounters and serendipitous conversations that currently are very unlikely to happen in online settings. There are talks, breaks, social events, and of course Okinawa's beautiful environment!

Accordingly, if you want to speak at the conference, please submit a proposal, and plan for coming in case travel bans are indeed lifted. If money is a limitation for travel and would impede your participation, please still submit a proposal, and let us know: we can financially support your travel, possibly fully. The deadline for submission is being extended for 2 weeks so people can submit in light of this information.

If travel bans end up being a limitation for just a few participants at the time of the conference, we will organize so those who cannot come can give their talk online. If travel bans are so ubiquitous that a significant portion of participants cannot be physically present, we will evaluate other options such as postponing the conference, or making it largely or fully remote.

Organizing remote attendance

For people who do not wish to speak at the conference, it will be possible to register for online attendance, at no cost. People who do so can watch the talks streamed live, and will be able to ask questions through an online chat channel; their questions will be forwarded to the session chair by local internet angels.

In order to safeguard the conditions for community-building and spontaneity of interactions however, online attendance is kept private and without recording, and registration will be necessary (and free).

Provide an optional public archive

Finally, to make it possible for talks to be watched and referenced later, while still letting the conversations develop freely, we will ask each speaker whether they wish to have their talk and/or Q&A session recorded. Speakers whose talk is recorded can later decide to have that recording deleted, shared privately, or made public.


We hope this plan will make sure ECogS 2021 is the best experience it can be, and we look forward to meeting as many as possible in person in Okinawa! If you have any questions or comments, do let us know by email or on Twitter @EcsuOist and @wehlutyk.