Centering inclusivity in the design of online conferences: An OHBM-Open Science perspective

Elizabeth Levitis, Cassandra D.Gould Van Praag, Rémi Gau, Stephan Heunis, Elizabeth Dupre, Gregory Kiar, Katherine L. Bottenhorn, Tristan Glatard, Aki Nikolaidis, Kirstie Jane Whitaker, Matteo Mancini, Guiomar Niso, Soroosh Afyouni, Eva Alonso-Ortiz, Stefan Appelhoff, Aurina Arnatkeviciute, Selim Melvin Atay, Tibor Auer, Giulia Baracchini, Johanna M.M. BayerMichael J.S. Beauvais, Janine D. Bijsterbosch, Isil P. Bilgin, Saskia Bollmann, Steffen Bollmann, Rotem Botvinik-Nezer, Molly G. Bright, Vince D. Calhoun, Xiao Chen, Sidhant Chopra, Hu Chuan-Peng, Thomas G. Close, Savannah L. Cookson, R. Cameron Craddock, Alejandro De La Vega, Benjamin De Leener, Damion V. Demeter, Paola Di Maio, Erin W. Dickie, Simon B. Eickhoff, Oscar Esteban, Karolina Finc, Matteo Frigo, Saampras Ganesan, Melanie Ganz, Kelly G. Garner, Eduardo A. Garza-Villarreal, Gabriel Gonzalez-Escamilla, Rohit Goswami, John D. Griffiths, Tijl Grootswagers, Samuel Guay, Olivia Guest, Daniel A. Handwerker, Peer Herholz, Katja Heuer, Dorien C. Huijser, Vittorio Iacovella, Michael J.E. Joseph, Agah Karakuzu, David B. Keator, Xenia Kobeleva, Manoj Kumar, Angela R. Laird, Linda J. Larson-Prior, Alexandra Lautarescu, Alberto Lazari, Jon Haitz Legarreta, Xue Ying Li, Jinglei Lv, Sina Mansour L., David Meunier, Dustin Moraczewski, Tulika Nandi, Samuel A. Nastase, Matthias Nau, Stephanie Noble, Martin Norgaard, Johnes Obungoloch, Robert Oostenveld, Edwina R. Orchard, Ana Luísa Pinho, Russell A. Poldrack, Anqi Qiu, Pradeep Reddy Raamana, Ariel Rokem, Saige Rutherford, Malvika Sharan, Thomas B. Shaw, Warda T. Syeda, Meghan M. Testerman, Roberto Toro, Sofie L. Valk, Sofie Van Den Bossche, Gaël Varoquaux, František Váša, Michele Veldsman, Jakub Vohryzek, Adina S. Wagner, Reubs J. Walsh, Tonya White, Fu Te Wong, Xihe Xie, Chao Gan Yan, Yu Fang Yang, Yohan Yee, Gaston E. Zanitti, Ana E. Van Gulick, Eugene Duff, Camille Maumet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


As the global health crisis unfolded, many academic conferences moved online in 2020. This move has been hailed as a positive step towards inclusivity in its attenuation of economic, physical, and legal barriers and effectively enabled many individuals from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented to join and participate. A number of studies have outlined how moving online made it possible to gather a more global community and has increased opportunities for individuals with various constraints, e.g., caregiving responsibilities. Yet, the mere existence of online conferences is no guarantee that everyone can attend and participate meaningfully. In fact, many elements of an online conference are still significant barriers to truly diverse participation: the tools used can be inaccessible for some individuals; the scheduling choices can favour some geographical locations; the set-up of the conference can provide more visibility to well-established researchers and reduce opportunities for early-career researchers. While acknowledging the benefits of an online setting, especially for individuals who have traditionally been underrepresented or excluded, we recognize that fostering social justice requires inclusivity to actively be centered in every aspect of online conference design. Here, we draw from the literature and from our own experiences to identify practices that purposefully encourage a diverse community to attend, participate in, and lead online conferences. Reflecting on how to design more inclusive online events is especially important as multiple scientific organizations have announced that they will continue offering an online version of their event when in-person conferences can resume.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiab051
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.G.v.P. received funding from the Medical Research Council UK and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. A.R.L. and K.L.B. were supported by NIH R25-DA051675, NIH U01-DA041156, NSF 1631325, and NIH R01-DA041353. A.N. is supported by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD grant and NIMH grant 5R21MH118556-02. E.A-O. is supported by TransMedTech Institute fellowship. T.A. is supported by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, London ([BB/S008314/1] (PI: Ines Violante). S.B. is supported by the National Imaging Facility, a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capability, at the Centre for Advanced Imaging, the University of Queensland. M.F. received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (ERC Advanced Grant agreement No. 694,665: CoBCoM—Computational Brain Connectivity Mapping. PI: Rachid Deriche). M.G. is supported by the Elsass Foundation (18–3-0147). E.A.G.-V. is supported by the Laboratorio Nacional de Imagenología por Resonancia Magnética (LANIREM). T.G. is supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. O.G. was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Grant 016.Vidi.188.029) awarded to Dr. Andrea E. Martin. V.I. is supported by the MIUR project “Dipartimenti di eccellenza". D.B.K. was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health under grant RF1 MH120021. L. L.-P. was supported in part by the Translational Research Institute grant TL1 TR003109 through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the NIH. A.L. is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MR/N013700) and King's College London member of the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Biomedical Sciences. A.L. is supported by a PhD Studentship awarded from the Wellcome Trust (109062/Z/15/Z). M.M. is funded by the Wellcome Trust through a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (213722/Z/18/Z). S.M.L. is supported by a Melbourne Research Scholarship. G.N. is supported by the AXA Research Fund. NeuroHackademy is supported through R25 MH112480 from the National Institute of Mental Health (PI: Ariel Rokem). T.C. is supported by the National Imaging Facility, a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capability, at Sydney Imaging, The University of Sydney. This work was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIMH: E.L. by ZIAMH002949, D.H. by ZIAMH002783, D.M. by ZICMH002960, and M.N. by ZIAMH002909. S.V.D.B. was supported by the Research Foundation Flanders, grant No. G036716N. R.B.-N. is an Awardee of the Weizmann Institute of Science - Israel National Postdoctoral Award Program for Advancing Women in Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of GigaScience. 2021.


Dive into the research topics of 'Centering inclusivity in the design of online conferences: An OHBM-Open Science perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this