Academic Conferences Are…

Academic Conferences Are… October 1, 2014

A Facebook page shared this image:

academic conferences are

I tried typing in those words and didn’t get the same suggestion, and so this is presumably either photoshopped or an indication of what the person who made it usually searches for. When I tried typing in variations, I found this:

Why academic conferences are important

I’ve never found an academic conference to be a waste of time. Even when the papers have not been of interest to me (and that has never been all or even most of the papers at a conference I’ve attended, except at big ones where most of the papers are supposed to be irrelevant to you, because it is a conference covering a big field), the conversations have been meaningful to me not only personally but professionally.

But I expected that when I typed in “Academic conferences are…” it would suggest adding “expensive.” And so the question of whether universities with tight budgets will continue to fund travel to conferences is a question that we should be pro-active in thinking about. We need to articulate clearly the reason why we need to all travel long distances to present our ideas to our peers, when this can now be done online – and/or we need to begin making use of current technology to accomplish many of the same things in a less expensive and more efficient manner.

If Google auto-completed your search query about academic conferences, what would it suggest, based on your own experience and online activity?

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  • I did not get that completion either (or any completion). But I share the sentiment.

    Sometimes a conference can be of value. But, more often, it is not.