Virtual Research Conferences: A Case Based Analysis

Virtual Research Conferences: A Case Based Analysis

Kamna Malik (U21Global Graduate School, Singapore, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/jvcsn.2011100103
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Abstract

Research conferences provide an important platform for idea exchange and validation as well as for social networking and talent hunt. Online social networks and collaborative web tools can make conferences budget friendly for sponsors, flexible for attendees, and environment friendly for the society without loss of effectiveness. While many conferences have adopted such tools during pre and post conferencing stages, their use during actual meeting hours is very limited. This paper deliberates on the current and potential use of such technologies on various stages of a conference. It then presents the case of a pure virtual conference in comparison with a face to face conference with an aim to analyze the immediate benefits that virtual conferencing brings for organizers and participants. Perceived deterrents and potential benefits for various stakeholders are discussed. Suggestions are made for educational institutions to review their norms for conference sponsorships.
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Research Conferences – Purpose And Organization

Research conferences are the life line of academic activity, a forum for new learning, incubator for idea generation, a testing ground for research proposals as well as a platform for visibility and social networking (Garcia, 2000; Hildreth & Woodrum, 2009; Kaser, 2008). Garcia (2000) views a conference as an opportunity to gain “valuable input and constructive criticism before submitting manuscripts to journals, book publishers, or grantors.” He also equates a conference with a library and a place where “unexpected things can and do happen.” Kaser (2008) describes conference as a place where you can actually get away from the constant distraction of electronic messaging and switch mental gears to take the time to think and reflect.” The follow up of a conference paper is usually expected to be a journal publication. But, this does not always happen (Hildreth & Woodrum, 2009). One school of thought is to prefer conferences over journal publications owing to the speedy review process and faster dissemination often facilitated by a conference (Patterson, 2004; Vardi, 2009) but many scholars have also raised the concern about the quality of review of conference submissions (Al-Fedaghi, 2007; Patterson, 2004; Vardi, 2009).

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