September 26, 2023


Future Depends on What You Do

Do scientific meetings make any difference? Turning up for talks provides shock benefits

Viewing displays in particular person raises the chance that a scientist will cite the function showcased in the speak.Credit rating: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Experts who have attended conferences are much more likely to cite get the job done talked over in talks they could see in particular person, as opposed with final results explained in sessions that they could not attend1. That quotation bump from in-human being attendance accrues even for talks that convention attendees hadn’t planned on listening to.

Attending a communicate is “really, seriously effective” for escalating the probability that researchers will cite the work, says research co-writer Misha Teplitskiy, an information scientist at the College of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The analyze was posted on the arXiv preprint server on 5 May possibly. It has not nevertheless been peer reviewed.

Teplitskiy has lengthy been intrigued in exactly where researchers get their thoughts, but struggled to measure this. Then he was launched to David Karger, a computer system scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technological know-how in Cambridge, who experienced produced an application named Confer to help pc experts plan their personal schedules at conferences. Experts employing the application can ‘like’ a discuss by clicking on it.

Demonstrating up

Teplitskiy, Karger and their colleagues used data from the application to deduce which talks 2,404 Confer buyers attended at 25 computer system science conferences held in between 2013 and 2020. The workforce assumed that a conference participant was far more likely to attend a ‘liked’ chat if it took place in a session that did not conflict with something else on the attendee’s routine.

The authors then assessed the functions cited by all those meeting attendees in two several years of the conference. They found that for attendees who experienced numerous timetable conflicts with a appreciated communicate, the probability of later on citing that speak was 2.6%. But for attendees who did not have a conflict, that figure rose to 3.8%.

Just after getting other outcomes into account, the authors located that assembly attendees cited appreciated papers 52% additional often when they could see them in individual than when they couldn’t. Which is “pretty sizable”, Teplitskiy suggests.

The investigation also uncovered a related benefit for citations of non-appreciated papers, an result that the authors phone serendipitous diffusion of information. Serendipitous diffusion accounted for just about 22% of the total dissemination of details introduced about by displays at the conferences.

Serendipitous distribute

That was a surprise, Teplitskiy says. The staff experienced assumed at the commence of the job that serendipitously looking at a communicate at a convention would have a modest effect on afterwards citation, if the result could be calculated at all. That the serendipitous distribute of thoughts can be calculated and quantified is critical, he says, for the reason that finding out how thoughts movement in communities is tough. The review conclusions propose that scheduling conflicts could be a practical software to analyse this information and facts flow.

The perform adds to evidence that attending conferences in particular person is important for researchers, says Ina Ganguli, an economist at the College of Massachusetts Amherst. “We know that encounter-to-experience interactions in options like conferences subject,” she says. “It would be appealing to quantify how a great deal awareness diffusion and trade is due to currently being at a convention in man or woman or regardless of whether you can get related consequences in digital formats.”

The perform is significant, simply because “the authors uncovered a laboratory to study the result of something unrelated to good quality on a paper’s citations”, suggests economist Edward Van Wesep at the College of Colorado Boulder. “We all have an understanding of that presenting our perform aids it get cited, but it’s difficult to prove that this is accurate,” he adds.

Researchers pour time and income into organizing and attending conferences, Ganguli suggests, “so obtaining evidence of the gains like those people revealed in this paper, is important”.