# Rethinking Academic Conferences in the Age of Pandemic

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Original Research Data

#### 2.2. Data Preprocessing

#### 2.3. Data Analysis

## 3. Results

## 4. Discussion

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

## Appendix A. Sources for Conference Retrieving

Resource | Website Address (accessed on 11 November 2021) |
---|---|

Conference List Released by Tsinghua University | https://www.sist.tsinghua.edu.cn/__local/0/E3/67/303DEC8D1B54395036E70EECAF6_AD515DFB_5643C0.pdf?e=.pdfhttps://kyc.xisu.edu.cn/__local/9/68/ED/2176754C804B302C4D3F446B6DB_D0BE2590_635BA.pdf?e=.pdf |

Conference Alert | https://conferencealerts.com |

All Conferences | http://www.allconferences.com |

World Conference Calendar | https://www.worldconferencecalendar.com |

## Appendix B. Conference Information Collection and Preprocessing

#### Appendix B.1. Data Properties

Field | Definition |
---|---|

Year | The year in which the conference is held |

Homepage | Homepage of the conference |

FullName | Full name of the conference |

Discipline | The discipline to which the conference belongs to |

FeeMember | Registration fee for non-student with membership |

FeeNonMember | Registration fee for non-student without membership |

FeeStudentMember | Registration fee for student with membership |

FeeNonStudentMember | Registration fee for student without membership |

VirtualConf | A binary variable indicating a virtual (1) or an on-site (0) conference |

VenueCity | The city in which the conference is held |

VenueCountry | The country in which the conference is held |

StartDate | The starting date of the conference |

EndDate | The ending date of the conference |

Number | Abbreviation | Discipline |
---|---|---|

1 | BAE | Business and Economics |

2 | CSC | Computer Science |

3 | EDU | Education |

4 | EAT | Engineering and Technology |

5 | INT | Interdisciplinary |

6 | LAW | Law |

7 | MAS | Mathematics and Statistics |

8 | MAH | Medicine and Health |

9 | PLS | Physical and Life Sciences |

10 | SSH | Social Sciences and Humanities |

Code | Country | Code | Country | Code | Country |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

CHN | China | CZE | Czech Republic | ISR | Israel |

USA | USA | SGP | Singapore | HRV | The Republic of Croatia |

JPN | Japan | MDV | Republic of Maldives | EGY | Egypt |

THA | Thailand | IND | India | PER | Peru |

GBR | UK | NZL | New Zealand | UKR | Ukraine |

ESP | Spain | AUT | Austria | BGD | Bangladesh |

ARE | UAE | CHE | Switzerland | SVN | Slovenia |

AUS | Australia | VNM | Vietnam | ETH | Ethiopia |

GRC | Greece | SWE | Sweden | ARG | Argentina |

CAN | Canada | BIH | Bosnia and Herzegovina | BRA | Brazil |

KOR | South Korea | IRL | Ireland | IRN | Iran |

DEU | Germany | BEL | Belgium | SCO | Scotland |

MYS | Malaysia | HUN | Hungary | ALB | Albania |

FRA | France | DNK | Denmark | FIN | Finland |

ITA | Italy | LKA | Sri Lanka | MKD | Macedonia |

TUR | Turkey | ZAF | South Africa | PSE | Palestinian Territory |

IDN | Indonesia | SRB | Serbia | MUS | Mauritius |

NLD | Netherlands | POL | Poland | LTU | Lithuania |

PRT | Portugal | DMA | Dominican | RUS | Russia |

MEX | Mexico |

#### Appendix B.2. Notes for Fee Information Collection

**Note 1:**The classification or discipline of the conferences is based on the conference list released by Tsinghua University.

**Note 2**: All the fees are measured in US dollars. If a fee of a conference is given in another currency unit, then it is converted into USD using the Xe Currency Converter based on the exchange rate of the day the conference data are collected. We hypothesize that the economic inflation is not significant over the past three years.

**Note 3**: In case a conference organization does not release membership, then the four types of fees are taken as the fees for the ordinary attendees.

**Note 4**: For some conferences, they do not distinguish student and non-student attendees. Therefore, the student registration fees are set to be the same as the fees for non-students.

**Note 5**: For some conferences, due to the lockdown or border control, they undergo a mixed mode of the conferences, i.e., they hold onsite and online conferences simultaneously. As a consequence, they set two fees, i.e., fees for onsite conferences and fees for virtual conferences. In this case, only the registration fees for virtual conferences are collected.

#### Appendix B.3. Data Preprocessing

#### Appendix B.4. Basic Data Statistics

Fee Type | All | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Onsite | All | Virtual | Onsite | All | Virtual | Onsite | ||

#Conference | 1174 | 331 | 434 | 274 | 160 | 409 | 202 | 207 |

#Country | 58 | 36 | 50 | 48 | 24 | 42 | 40 | 27 |

${max}_{\mathrm{FeeMem}}$ | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 875 | 1699 | 1699 | 1649 |

${max}_{\mathrm{FeeNonM}}$ | 1913.6 | 1913.6 | 1699 | 1699 | 1525 | 1900 | 1900 | 1649 |

${max}_{\mathrm{FeeStuM}}$ | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 651 | 1699 | 1699 | 1649 |

${max}_{\mathrm{FeeStuNonM}}$ | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 1699 | 1525 | 1699 | 1699 | 1649 |

${min}_{\mathrm{FeeMem}}$ | 0 | 85 | 0 | 0 | 36 | 0 | 0 | 100 |

${min}_{\mathrm{FeeNonM}}$ | 0 | 125 | 0 | 0 | 36 | 0 | 0 | 122 |

${min}_{\mathrm{FeeStuM}}$ | 0 | 49 | 0 | 0 | 36 | 0 | 0 | 100 |

${min}_{\mathrm{FeeStuNonM}}$ | 0 | 70 | 0 | 0 | 36 | 0 | 0 | 100 |

${\mathrm{avg}}_{\mathrm{FeeMem}}$ | 444.9 | 535.7 | 399.6 | 361.5 | 465.0 | 419.3 | 353.3 | 483.7 |

${\mathrm{avg}}_{\mathrm{FeeNonM}}$ | 485.2 | 584.2 | 435.8 | 400.6 | 496.0 | 457.6 | 403.6 | 510.4 |

${\mathrm{avg}}_{\mathrm{FeeStuM}}$ | 375.7 | 416.8 | 353.5 | 319.1 | 412.4 | 366.1 | 300.7 | 429.9 |

${\mathrm{avg}}_{\mathrm{FeeStuNonM}}$ | 402.5 | 450.1 | 375.3 | 341.8 | 432.6 | 392.9 | 336.3 | 448.2 |

${\mathrm{std}}_{\mathrm{FeeMem}}$ | 209.7 | 217.6 | 191.8 | 212.3 | 126.3 | 198.9 | 228.4 | 137.7 |

${\mathrm{std}}_{\mathrm{FeeNonM}}$ | 240.0 | 262.1 | 208.2 | 226.4 | 155.8 | 229.6 | 268.9 | 168.0 |

${\mathrm{std}}_{\mathrm{FeeStuM}}$ | 201.0 | 188.1 | 201.2 | 224.1 | 135.9 | 206.4 | 231.6 | 154.0 |

${\mathrm{std}}_{\mathrm{FeeStuNonM}}$ | 212.3 | 193.1 | 213.4 | 232.3 | 161.4 | 219.9 | 237.8 | 185.4 |

**Figure A1.**Number of conferences held by each country. (

**a**) Ranking of the countries by the number of conferences they held over the three years. (

**b**–

**d**) Number of virtual and onsite conferences held by each country in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

**Figure A2.**Number of conferences belonging to each discipline. (

**a**) Ranking of the disciplines by the number of conferences they covered over the three years. (

**b**–

**d**) Number of virtual and onsite conferences covered by each discipline in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

## Appendix C. Distributions of Registration Fees

#### Appendix C.1. Overall Fee Distributions by Year

**Figure A3.**Histograms of the conference registration fees. The number of bins is set to be 45. (

**a**) Histograms of the four types of registration fees for conferences held in 2019. (

**b**) Histograms of the four types of registration fees for conferences held in 2020. (

**c**) Histograms of the four types of registration fees for conferences held in 2021.

#### Appendix C.2. Curve Fittings of Fee Distributions by Year

**Figure A4.**Histograms and curve fittings for the distributions of the four types of registration fees of conferences held in each year. The number of bins is set to be 45.

Gamma | LogNormal | Weibull | Normal | |
---|---|---|---|---|

2019 Mem | $a=7.2647$ | $\mu =6.2123$ | $a=620.1491$ | $\mu =535.7245$ |

b = 73.7431 | $\sigma =0.3771$ | $b=2.4868$ | $\sigma =217.5593$ | |

R2 = 0.5939 | R2 = 0.6103 | R2 = 0.4936 | R2 = 0.4994 | |

2019 NonM | $a=6.2501$ | $\mu =6.2881$ | $a=659.8517$ | $\mu =584.1761$ |

$b=93.4668$ | $\sigma =0.3988$ | $b=2.3104$ | $\sigma =262.0901$ | |

R2 = 0.5380 | R2 = 0.5726 | R2 = 0.4367 | R2 = 0.4191 | |

2019 StuM | $a=5.6559$ | $\mu =5.9416$ | $a=468.6383$ | $\mu =416.8139$ |

$b=73.6953$ | $\sigma =0.4463$ | $b=2.2393$ | $\sigma =188.1006$ | |

R2 = 0.6154 | R2 = 0.5770 | R2 = 0.5727 | R2 = 0.6062 | |

2019 StuNonM | $a=6.3091$ | $\mu =6.0282$ | $a=505.9846$ | $\mu =450.1355$ |

$b=71.3465$ | $\sigma =0.4142$ | $b=2.3499$ | $\sigma =193.1199$ | |

R2 = 0.6727 | R2 = 0.6583 | R2 = 0.6251 | R2 = 0.6433 | |

2020 Mem | $a=3.6115$ | $\mu =5.8527$ | $a=451.5908$ | $\mu =402.4147$ |

$b=111.4260$ | $\sigma =0.6182$ | $b=2.1650$ | $\sigma =189.4914$ | |

R2 = 0.6192 | R2 = 0.4989 | R2 = 0.7049 | R2 = 0.7803 | |

2020 NonM | $a=3.9538$ | $\mu =5.9524$ | $a=492.9855$ | $\mu =438.8360$ |

$b=110.9906$ | $\sigma =0.5810$ | $b=2.1787$ | $\sigma =205.7369$ | |

R2 = 0.6164 | R2 = 0.4944 | R2 = 0.6778 | R2 = 0.7506 | |

2020 StuMem | $a=2.4163$ | $\mu =5.6585$ | $a=399.3968$ | $\mu =357.6089$ |

$b=147.9968$ | $\sigma =0.7894$ | $b=1.8053$ | $\sigma =198.6706$ | |

R2 = 0.5831 | R2 = 0.4402 | R2 = 0.6651 | R2 = 0.7573 | |

2020 StuNonM | $a=2.6066$ | $\mu =5.7353$ | $a=424.7966$ | $\mu =379.6388$ |

$b=145.6445$ | $\sigma =0.7511$ | $b=1.8282$ | $\sigma =210.6974$ | |

R2 = 0.6409 | R2 = 0.4828 | R2 = 0.7203 | R2 = 0.8104 | |

2021 Mem | $a=7.2647$ | $\mu =6.2123$ | $a=620.1491$ | $\mu =535.7245$ |

$b=73.7431$ | $\sigma =0.3771$ | $b=2.4868$ | $\sigma =217.5593$ | |

R2 = 0.4758 | R2 = 0.3563 | R2 = 0.5561 | R2 = 0.6452 | |

2021 NonM | $a=3.8373$ | $\mu =5.9951$ | $a=516.8945$ | $\mu =421.3630$ |

$b=119.8462$ | $\sigma =0.5877$ | $b=2.0652$ | $\sigma =227.9303$ | |

R2 = 0.4606 | R2 = 0.3678 | R2 = 0.4917 | R2 = 0.5499 | |

2021 StuMem | $a=2.3688$ | $\mu =5.6820$ | $a=410.1787$ | $\mu =367.8686$ |

$b=155.2996$ | $\sigma =0.8155$ | $b=1.7882$ | $\sigma =205.2525$ | |

R2 = 0.4784 | R2 = 0.3446 | R2 = 0.5473 | R2 = 0.6232 | |

2021 StuNonM | $a=2.6223$ | $\mu =5.7759$ | $a=441.5871$ | $\mu =394.8538$ |

$b=150.5761$ | $\sigma =0.7574$ | $b=1.8293$ | $\sigma =218.6773$ | |

R2 = 0.5254 | R2 = 0.3882 | R2 = 0.5832 | R2 = 0.6462 |

#### Appendix C.3. Fee Distribution by Discipline

**Figure A5.**Boxplot of conference registration fees by disciplines. (

**a**) Distribution for the three years. (

**b**–

**d**) Distribution for 2019, 2020, 2021, respectively.

## Appendix D. Registration Fees of Virtual Conferences

#### Appendix D.1. Distribution of Registration Fee of Virtual Conferences

**Figure A6.**Distributions of the four types of registration fees of virtual conferences held in (

**a**) 2020 and (

**b**) 2021.

#### Appendix D.2. Distributions of Registration Fee Discounts

**Figure A7.**Distributions of the discount rates of registration fees of virtual conferences held in 2020 and 2021 with respect to the countries.

**Figure A8.**Distributions of the discount rates of registration fees of virtual conferences held in 2020 and 2021 with respect to the disciplines.

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**Figure 1.**

**Statistical results of the conferences held in 2019, 2020 and 2021.**(

**A**) The top 10 countries ranked by the number of conferences held over the three years. (

**B**–

**D**) The number of virtual and onsite conferences held in 2019, 2020, and 2021 with respect to the top 10 countries. (

**E**) Ranking of the disciplines in terms of the number of conferences held over the three years. (

**F**–

**H**) The number of virtual and onsite conferences respectively held in 2019, 2020, and 2021 with respect to each discipline. (

**I**–

**L**) The distributions and curve fittings of the member registration fees of conferences held over the three years and in each year, respectively. (

**M**,

**N**) Comparisons of the member registration fees of conferences held in each year with respect to the top 10 countries and the 10 disciplines.

**Figure 2.**

**Statistical results of the registration fees and discounts for virtual conferences held in 2020 and 2021.**(

**A**,

**B**) The distributions of the registration fees for members of virtual conferences, respectively, held in 2020 and 2021. (

**C**,

**D**) The distributions of the discounts of registration fees for members of virtual conferences held in 2020 and 2021 with respect to the top 10 countries and the 10 disciplines.

Type | 2019 Onsite | 2020 Virtual | 2020 Onsite | 2021 Virtual | 2021 Onsite |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

<100 USD | 1 | 20 | 1 | 20 | 0 |

[100, 200) USD | 6 | 41 | 4 | 30 | 5 |

[200, 300) USD | 8 | 41 | 10 | 32 | 4 |

[300, 400) USD | 26 | 45 | 10 | 33 | 6 |

[400, 500) USD | 128 | 63 | 74 | 37 | 98 |

[500, 600) USD | 69 | 43 | 19 | 35 | 51 |

[600, 700) USD | 40 | 12 | 39 | 9 | 36 |

[700, 800) USD | 20 | 5 | 1 | 2 | 5 |

[800, 900) USD | 10 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 0 |

[900, 1000) USD | 13 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 |

≥1000 USD | 10 | 2 | 0 | 3 | 1 |

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Cai, Q.; Du, Z.; Wu, Y.; Xu, X.
Rethinking Academic Conferences in the Age of Pandemic. *Appl. Sci.* **2022**, *12*, 8351.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app12168351

**AMA Style**

Cai Q, Du Z, Wu Y, Xu X.
Rethinking Academic Conferences in the Age of Pandemic. *Applied Sciences*. 2022; 12(16):8351.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app12168351

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Cai, Qing, Zhanwei Du, Ye Wu, and Xiaoke Xu.
2022. "Rethinking Academic Conferences in the Age of Pandemic" *Applied Sciences* 12, no. 16: 8351.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app12168351