R2R conversation goes online

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Image courtesy of R2R, BMA House and SpatialChat

This year’s Researcher to Reader (R2R) conference – normally held in London – will be completely virtual.

As usual R2R, which will be held on 23-24 February, will offer workshops, Q&A sessions, debate and networking – and also additional online sessions for the benefit of delegates in American time zones.

The event will kick off with a ‘Participant Perceptions’ session to determine what the R2R Community thinks about the scholarly communications landscape – hosted by Rob Johnson, founder and director at Research Consulting, and Danny Kingsley, a scholarly communication consultant and visiting fellow at the Australian National University. 

Conference participants are asked to give their opinions on key scholarly communications issues in a live interactive survey. The anonymised results will be shared on the fly, to give a picture of the views of the R2R community, and to provide qualitative and quantitative information on a range of hot topics. The consolidated survey results will be available at the end of the conference. 

Further sessions include: a panel on inclusivity; a series of interviews with representatives of China’s scholarly research and communications sector to get their views on key trends and developments to watch out for in 2021 and beyond; a series of workshops on subjects such as ‘new models for open access’, ‘who decides what is good academic writing, and ‘an antiracist framework for scholarly communications’.

Further keynotes and debates will include: 

  • Current trends in research integrity, taking into account the lessons from the current pandemic;
  • Resolved: Journal publishers should pay academics for providing peer review;
  • Diversifying eBook Readership Through Open Access;
  • New Funding Models For Open-Access Monographs;
  • cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy; and 
  • Covid-19 Rapid Review & Preprints.

Event founder Mark Carden explained that a key message for delegates is that ‘sitting at home watching some webinars, however interesting, is not the same as participating in a conference’.

He said: ‘R2R has always been a conversation, not a lecture, and it will be the same for 2021, but online. We will be completely live and absolutely continuous for two days; people can grab a break when they can, but we will be relentlessly carrying on without them. We will have have live video networking in virtual rooms, live Q&A, fully-interactive workshops, our debate, and all the normal elements of our varied and lively programme. 

‘We are also doing 'Lightning Posters' in the breaks (that's just like a poster session, but with a 10-minute speed-dating ethos). We have also announced a series of free online pre-sessions so anyone can meet the presenters and moderators and discuss their planned sessions in the weeks before the event.’

Sponsors and media partners for the 2021 Conference include The Royal Society of Chemistry, Atypon, Wiley, Aries, Karger, Ringgold, Ebsco, Mosaic, Research Information and Retraction Watch.

Carden added: ‘For all that we have been preparing on the timetable and processes, content is of course key, and we have some really great topics that we will be covering, as you can see in the Programme. I think the China interviews will be particularly interesting, and I m looking forward to hearing insights from early-career researchers from all around the world.

‘All this is a lot of work and quite expensive to do, with more tech, loads of professional AV support and a huge amount of preparation and rehearsal. But we are aiming to deliver the same value as R2R always delivers, just in an online format. We are using world-class online platform to make sure navigation is smooth and delivery is reliable. 

‘Online is different, but we are not cashing in by just trying to get 5 times as many people to watch some speeches on TV at half the price. We still want to be the R2R that over 96% of participants say is Valuable and Relevant, with a couple of hundred people discussing scholarly communications with each other, as usual.  

‘I don't think anyone else in this space has our commitment and ambition. It is going to be absolutely immense and intense!’

For more information and to register for the event, visit https://r2rconf.com/