Animal Behaviour Live has been created by three postdoctoral researchers in animal behaviour, Alexis Buatois, Valentin Lecheval and Natacha Rossi. We are very interested in the different ways to spread out the scientific culture. The unusual situation created by the Covid-19 crisis was the occasion for us to discuss (i) how researchers are dependant on conferences, and (ii) how the usual system of international congresses can exacerbate many disparities within researchers.
As a result, we decided to set a new online platform up, to organise events entirely broadcasted online. We have since then been joined by other researchers from all over the world helping us organising conferences, seminars and round tables.
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The high quality research of the participants of our events deserves cutting-edge communication. Our lovely website and social network artefacts are crafted by the design studio Chloé Motard, which provides all illustrated, visual and graphic design material researchers need.
Our aim is to provide a sustainable platform to reduce air travel to conferences and maintain this meeting beyond the end of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, the environmental cost of travels to international conferences cannot be neglected. A meeting of the American Association of Geographers taking place in Seattle in 2011 has generated 16,000 metric tons of global warming pollution, equivalent to the amount generated in a year by 53,500 people living in Haiti (Nevins, 2013, The Professional Geographer). Virtual meetings are worth to be experimented to address this problem.
Beyond the reduction of carbon emissions, we also aim at reducing gender, race, class, and nation inequalities that can be met in regular congresses. Indeed, biases (whether they are structural, implicit or explicit) exclude many people from science. In the US, it has been shown that several racial/ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged individuals, people with disabilities, and women remain underrepresented (Valantine and Collins, 2015, PNAS). Scientific conferences are no exception to this exclusion with women from some minorities being the most affected (Ford et al., 2019, Nature). Presenting at scientific conferences being key to academic career progression, it is therefore essential to carefully take into account these different parameters at our scale during conference organisation in order not to increase the pre-existing disparities. Our events intends to be inclusive and a dispositive to enable all sociological minorities to access the discursive power of our discipline on the international scene. It will also be the opportunity for non-privileged scientists to be involved in such international conferences as those are generally expensive while ours are free of charge.
To address these complex questions, we put great efforts in designing inclusive formats. The means currently in place for our annual conference encompass: