Scientific societies are grappling with the effects of having to cancel, postpone, or transform their annual meetings into online versions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.
It notes that societies typically rely on revenue from their meetings to fuel their operating budgets, and the budgets have now taken a hit due to venue cancellation fees, registration reimbursements, and other cancellation costs. Smaller societies are the most affected, Nature News says, noting, for instance, that the Society for the Study of Evolution's executive vice president says it and two partner societies wound up owing tens of thousands of dollars for canceling their joint meeting. But even larger societies with more diversified budgets are facing losses, it adds.
As the pandemic rages on, Nature News writes that societies are now facing the possibility that their 2021 meetings may also be affected. SSE's Andrea Case, the society's executive vice president, tells it that though they could weather the 2020 cancellation costs "being relatively small societies, we can't do that too many more times."