A science conference in perspective, anything new or just the old story?
Conference review being a summary of the proceedings is a platform for sharing information and therefore should be interesting to the reader as well. Sunny Bains outlines the reasons for writing a conference review. Firstly, the review is to direct the reader to what is new in a particular field. Secondly, is to consolidate loosely linked trends of issues discussed during the conference. Thirdly, the writer has to fulfil an obligation of providing feedback to the donor or as part of normal duty to anchor the publicity for own organisation and when it is the requirement for editor to have it. Bains makes an observation that in reviewing the conference the journalists sometimes are biased towards interesting stories and end up adding their own thought. Bains offers a caution to journalists about conference review; that not all are worth the trouble of the review as they tend to be multidisciplinary and at the same time uncommon. Bains says that a good conference review must be interesting and useful to the reader. In meeting this declaration he further outlines five tips that he thinks make a conference review both interesting and useful to the reader. Following are what makes a good conference review:
• Conference review must as much as possible avoid including the organisers, the venue and how the discussions or plenary progressed unless it is destined for a magazine or an institutional website;
• The writer must not be wasteful with information but instead be precise, simple and interesting. This helps the reader to absorb easily. To simplify an otherwise complex issue for the readers/audience the review must make a summary of convincing projects in order to bring impact. Then also include any obvious support or opposing views demonstrated by the presentations to the selected for the review and of course other projects which were not part of the presentation for comparison purposes;
• Carry out a check on any sequential alignment of the presentations and probably take it to be the theme of the review. Then come up with details to become the discussion points.
• The writer is to decide to make special emphasis on the emerging issues and probably give justification of their growing importance. This could be issues that were not popular or of concern in the past but suddenly they become largely of interest.
• Finally Sunny Bains reveals to the writer that a good science conference review should reflect all that was discussed so that even those who did not attend are able to follow up on issues of interest.
Reading Sunny Bains tips on writing a good science conference review you realise that there is need to gauge the target audience medium of dissemination and a sifting of what to say. This gives me an idea of what a good conference review is all about. An example is given a of conference report which may include the background of the workshop which also incorporates the objectives. Also included are the issues during paper presentations and plenary session outcomes. Finally, the recommendations or resolutions made. For networking and reference purposes list of participants and what role they had in the conference may also be provided. This information may be presented electronically, giving web address.
Having followed what Sunny Bains says I am convinced a good conference review is possible, what do you think?
To read what Sunny Bains wrote please follow this link http://www.absw.org.uk/new.events/features/433