A few minutes ago I checked my email, to be greeted with the news that the board of ScienceOnline have elected to dissolve the organisation and cancel their 2015 meeting.
I hope that local counterparts will surface. Perhaps we can hope for an Australiasian* counterpart? Perhaps hosted in different nations in different years?
In previous years I aspired to attend the ScienceOnline annual meetings and proposed a number of sessions,** some of which were held. It’s sad to see ScienceOnline go: even for those did did not attend it provided an annual focal point, especially with many of participants live-tweeting proceedings and taking questions from those not physically present. Unsurprisingly the #sciox twitter stream is an excellent source of comments about this development.
Below I have copied the announcement carried in the email –
The board of ScienceOnline has reached the difficult but unavoidable decision to dissolve the organization.
ScienceOnline has a rich history of dedication to its mission: cultivating the ways science is conducted, shared, and communicated online. Since 2007 we have convened popular and groundbreaking conferences that bring together scientists, science writers, bloggers, journalists and other science communicators to move the field forward in the digital era. Participants in these events inspired the growth of a wider community and sparked the development of many important related efforts.
We have faced uphill challenges throughout the past year in assembling the money and the people resources (both staff and volunteer) necessary for the organization to sustain all of its projects. We have put considerable effort into exploring different scenarios for partnering with other groups and/or scaling back our operations, but none of these has provided a path forward. In June we concluded that we did not have the resources to support a paid executive director position, and we eliminated it.
As a result of our state of insolvency, the ScienceOnline board of directors voted on Oct. 6 to proceed with a plan for dissolution, which we will implement over the coming weeks.
One unfortunate but necessary consequence of this decision is that we have to cancel the ScienceOnline Together 2015 conference scheduled for Atlanta in February. We have notified those who have already registered for ScienceOnline Together 2015 and will be fully refunding registration fees.
We’re profoundly grateful for the countless ways that our participants, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, and friends have contributed to ScienceOnline over the years, and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together. This may be the final chapter for ScienceOnline, but we have great hopes for the future of science communication, and we know that everyone who has made the ScienceOnline community what it was will continue to create that future.
Thanks to all of you.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, you are welcome to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Rosenberg, for the ScienceOnline board:
* Seemingly, the OED doesn’t accept this as a proper word. (According to the Mac OS X spell checker.)
** I was invited to attend to host the session, e.g. for the 2013 meeting I proposed a session on non-academic careers following on from encouraging readers to look at this issue on my blog. (Twice invited, from memory; also in 2012. The cost to travel from New Zealand was a bit daunting!)
Other articles on Code for life with mention of ScienceOnline