Geographic Equity and Environmental Sustainability of Conference Models: Results of a Comparative Analysis

Kate E. Whitfield Zeroverse, Okinawa, Japan;

Search for other papers by Kate E. Whitfield in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Angela Ares Pita Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan;

Search for other papers by Angela Ares Pita in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Thale C. Jarvis Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, Silverthorne, Colorado;

Search for other papers by Thale C. Jarvis in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Shannon Weimen Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, Silverthorne, Colorado;

Search for other papers by Shannon Weimen in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Teun Bousema Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Search for other papers by Teun Bousema in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

ABSTRACT.

We conducted a comparative analysis of in-person, virtual, and hybrid conferences on tuberculosis hosted by Keystone Symposia and examined the number of participants, their country of residence, carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) produced, and participant impressions regarding scientific quality. Data were available from three in-person meetings, one virtual meeting, and one hybrid. The virtual conference hosted 2.5-fold more participants compared with the in-person conferences (842 versus an average of 328) from more than double the number of countries (68 versus an average of 33). The virtual conference attracted 4.5-fold more participants from countries with a high burden of tuberculosis, compared with the average in-person conference (209 versus an average of 46). For in-person meetings, an average of 79% of participants were based in high-income countries. For the virtual meeting, 53% of participants were from high-income countries, and 47% from low- and middle-income countries. For the hybrid conference, there were 465 participants from 43 countries, of which 289 attended in person from a total of 20 countries, and 176 participated virtually from 34 countries. Of those who took part in person, 91% were from high-income countries. The average CO2e emissions from an in-person conference was 696 tons of CO2e, with 96.0% from air travel. The virtual meeting produced 0.48 ton of CO2e from electricity usage, a 1,450-fold decrease compared with in-person events. Virtual conferences scored a content quality rating of 87.3% to 90.8% compared with a range of 86.4% to 92.2% for in-person conferences.

    • Supplemental Materials (PDF 130.84 KB)

Author Notes

Authors’ addresses: Kate E. Whitfield, Zeroverse, Okinawa, Japan, E-mail: kate.whitfield@zeroverse.org. Angela Ares Pita, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan, E-mail: angela.arespita@oist.jp. Thale C. Jarvis and Shannon Weimen, Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, Silverthorne, CO, E-mails: thale.jarvis@gmail.com and shannonw@keystonesymposia.org. Teun Bousema, Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, E-mail: teun.bousema@radboudumc.nl.

Address correspondence to Kate E. Whitfiled, Zeroverse, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa, Japan. E-mail: kate.whitfield@zeroverse.org
  • 1.

    World Health Organization , 2023. Tuberculosis Fact Sheet. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    World Health Organization , 2021. Global Tuberculosis Report 2021. Available at: http://apps.who.int/bookorders. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Weiman S , 2020. The Science Must Go On: Announcing ESymposia Virtual Meetings. Colorado: Keystone Symposia.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Remmel A , 2021. Scientists want virtual meetings to stay after the COVID pandemic. Nature 591: 185186.

  • 5.

    Weiman S et al., 2023. Reimagining scientific conferences: A Keystone Symposia report. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1527: 4959.

  • 6.

    Johnson D , Klinman JP , 2023. Reimagining Scientific Conferences: Pandemic Lessons In Reducing Carbon Footprint, Engaging New Audiences & Rethinking Strategies For Scientific Exchange. Available at: https://keypoint.keystonesymposia.org/home/reimagining-scientific-conferences. Accessed February 14, 2024.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Barret D , 2020. Estimating, monitoring and minimizing the travel footprint associated with the development of the Athena X-ray Integral Field Unit: An on-line travel footprint calculator released to the science community. Exp Astron (Dordr) 49: 183216.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    World Bank Blogs, 2023. Blog on “Carbon Footprint” from World Bank Group Staff Air Travel. Available at: https://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/blog-carbon-footprint-world-bank-group-staff-air-travel. Accessed November 29, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    U.S. Environment Protection Agency , 2022. EPA Emission Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Motorcycles. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/emission-standards-reference-guide/epa-emission-standards-light-duty-vehicles-and-trucks-and. Accessed November 29, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Google , 2023. Google Maps. Available at: https://maps.google.com/. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Berners-Lee M , 2020. How bad are bananas? In How Bad are Bananas?. London, United Kingdom: Profile Books Ltd.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Burtscher L , Barret D , Borkar AP , Grinberg V , Jahnke K , Kendrew S , Maffey G , McCaughrean MJ , 2020. The carbon footprint of large astronomy meetings. Nat Astron 4: 823825.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Schivley G , Azevedo I , Samaras C , 2018. Assessing the evolution of power sector carbon intensity in the United States. Environ Res Lett 13: 064018.

  • 14.

    Kasmar AG , Andrade Rodrigo BB , Corrêa-Oliveira DA , 2020. Virtual Keystone Symposium: Tuberculosis: Science Aimed at Ending the Epidemic. Available at: https://virtual.keystonesymposia.org/live/551/page/6392. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Aslan J , Mayers K , Koomey JG , France C , 2018. Electricity intensity of internet data transmission untangling the estimates. J Ind Ecol 22: 785798.

  • 16.

    The World Bank Group, World Bank Country and Lending Groups , 2023. Class. Available at: https://datacatalogfiles.worldbank.org/ddh-published/0037712/DR0090755/CLASS.xlsx. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    NASA Science , 2023. Space Place. Available at: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/moon-distance/en/. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Pali-Schöll I , Hermuth-Kleinschmidt K , Dramburg S , Agache I , Mayerhofer H , Jensen-Jarolim E , Goshua A , Nadeau KC , 2023. An EAACI review: Go green in health care and research: Practical suggestions for sustainability in clinical practice, laboratories, and scientific meetings. Allergy 78: 26062622.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate , 2015. The Paris Agreement. Available at: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement. Accessed November 28, 2023.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Dylan R, Jessica P, Alex H, Laura B, Lindsey P, 2023. Of meetings and members: the interconnected future of conferences and scholarly societies. Available at: https://doi.org/10.18665/sr.319388. Accessed February 28, 2024.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
Past two years Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 301 301 62
Full Text Views 14 14 7
PDF Downloads 20 20 10
 
 
 
 
Affiliate Membership Banner
 
 
Research for Health Information Banner
 
 
CLOCKSS
 
 
 
Society Publishers Coalition Banner
Save