Association Event Network December 2019 | Page 8

Cover Feature LASTING LEGACY Written by Stuart Wood Fake conferences and profit margins are driving a wedge between the academic and association worlds. AEN meets the people bridging the gap using the power of legacy 8 Fake news, real problems informed event can persuade academics to relocate to a city, spark innovative ideas The proliferation of fake conferences is and build powerful social networks.” just one of the problems which is causing a disconnect between the meetings industry Great power, great responsibility and the academic world. These two institutions should be Another meetings industry player which fast friends, but many professors and has put the power of legacy front and researchers view events as needless centre is the ICC Sydney in Australia. IN OCTOBER 2016, a professor from the distractions or — even worse — as scams. University of Canterbury in New Zealand Thomas Trøst Hansen, who is writing Than a Venue’, and aims to highlight the submitted a research paper to an academic a pHD on the subject titled ‘ Academic events (and their impacts)’, says: “The meetings industry is a key infrastructure for academia. It’s necessary for a strong scientific community. But academic conferencing is severely underdeveloped when compared to, say, academic publishing.” Hansen is partnering with Wonderful Copenhagen, the tourist board for the Danish capital, on a new project that is intended to help bridge the gap. The Copenhagen Legacy Lab is an initiative that will use workshops to link together the organisers of academic association events with research communities, businesses and public authorities. It is an attempt to harness the collective wisdom of everyone who has already held an association event in the city of Copenhagen, and use it to create positive, lasting legacies for those coming down the pipeline. “It is important that we can measure and encourage meaningful legacy from association events,” says Hansen. “Many events nowadays talk about legacy, but what they really mean is putting a beehive on the roof of a venue, then moving on to the next one. A well-organised and many benefits that association events conference – written entirely using the autocomplete function on his Mac. Christopher Bartneck, who is an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology Laboratory, received an invite to the ‘International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics’ – a topic unrelated to his field. “Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics, I resorted to the iOS autocomplete function to help me write the paper,” said Bartneck. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions. It was titled ‘Atomic energy will have been made available to a single source’, and I illustrated it with the first graphic on the Wikipedia entry for nuclear physics.” Bartneck’s completely nonsensical paper was accepted, because the event he was invited to was what has been referred to as a ‘fake conference’. Fake conferences are commercial ventures posing as academic or association events, in the hopes of receiving paper submission and registration fees from academic professionals. Its latest campaign is titled ‘More can bring to clients, delegates and the local community. ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy says: “Our dedicated corporate Patients is a virtue Involving patients in scientific congresses can be one way of ensuring they have a lasting legacy. This was the topic of a new white paper by international meetings organiser AIM Group, which suggested that involving patients in the events themselves can help disseminate information and increase media coverage. Author of the White Paper and head of AIM Group’s Florence office, Francesca Manzani, said: “Patients can help raise awareness of illnesses and catch the attention of the media due to the human nature of their stories. The increased visibility will ultimately have a positive impact for the scientific association.”