Call now! Loan counselors are standing by at +1 (301) 731-4535*.
This gets you a name badge, and a meal. The gala is a separately ticketed event that will cost you another Franklin.
But I imagine we’ll get an ICE tote bag. Yay!
Here is your routine reminder that it is our duty, as members of academic societies, to make sure that our conferences are affordable.
I’ve talked to so many scientists — of all levels of seniority — who are taking a pass on this ICE conference, because either they don’t have the funds, or think it’s downright absurd to price a meeting this high. I’m the rube who signed up anyway.
ICE is not alone in pricing their conferences too high. Here are a variety of scientific conferences and the non-discounted rates for non-student society members who miss the early bird rate**. (Keep in mind that membership is usually somewhere between 50 and 150 bucks, too.)
- AGU 2016: $585; 5 days; $117/day
- ATBC 2016: €800 ≈ $900; 5 days; $180/day (1-2 excellent meals/day included)
- Botany 2016: $635; 5 days; $127/day
- Drosophila 2017: $434; 5 days; $87/day
- EB 2017: $560; 5 days; $112/day
- ESA 2016: $398; 6 days; $66/day
- ESC 2015: C$550 ≈ $418; 5 days; $85/day
- GSA 2016: $485; 4 days; $121/day
- Goldschmidt 2016: 6 days; ¥79000 ≈ $767; $128/day
- ICE 2016: $995; 6 days; $166/day
- MLA 2016: $205; 4 days; $51/day
- SfN 2016: $430; 5 days; $85/day
- SICB 2016: $390; 5 days; $78/day
- TAGU 2016: $520; 5 days; $104/day
Even if you take the length of the International Congress of Entomology into account, it’s clearly an outlier, twice the price of many other conferences.
As a member of the Ecological Society of America, I’m proud that they keep registration affordable, particularly for students! I understand that meeting size affects prices, there is the benefit of scale, and mid-size meetings might have trouble filling venues but small venues can’t accommodate them. I haven’t put together attendance data for these meetings, which clearly has an effect. But, still. If some folks can run a meeting at 70 bucks per day, clearly it’s possible to run a meeting at less than double that rate.
Okay, some conferences have more coffee and snacks, and maybe even a couple meals comprised of expensive conference food. But I think most of us — especially with students that we’re bringing to the meeting — would prefer to not have to pay hundreds of extra dollars just to get access to long line of academics waiting to have access to a cheese platter.
And by the way, wait WUT all of us scientists should consult with our colleagues who run the Modern Language Association. Their conferences cost just fifty bucks per day! (And that’s at the non-student non-early bird rate. And, they also have much much cheaper rate for unemployed academics.) Grad students can go to the MLA meeting for all four days for just $55! The meeting has an average of maybe 10,000 attendees. Is that why it’s so reasonable? Then again, the Ecology meeting is in the same ballpark price range on a per-day basis, and has only a few thousand attendees, so it’s possible to have a meeting that size be reasonable.
This doesn’t leave an excuse for the Entomological Society of America, who run a meeting at about twice the cost of the Ecology meetings for attendees. They apparently aren’t focused on keeping costs down, because (I guess?) they have other priorities. (If they care to rebut, I’d love to see an actual budget for the expenditures. The website seems to be entirely opaque about where all that money goes for running the conference. Which, as a member of this member-run organization, is disappointing to me. I’ve love to be shown wrong on this matter.)
It’s the members — including the senior academics who primarily comprise the leadership — who need to start leading and change our academic societies so that our conferences can become affordable for our members. The only people who want to pay for unnecessary conference amenities are the ones who can afford them. These are the people who are on the committees that make decisions.
I was in the room where it happened, as a delegate in my my academic society, when we decided to choose a more expensive option over a more reasonable option. Why did we make this choice? Because my fellow senior scientists were thinking more about their personal interests in vacation travel than they were about the affordability for the students and postdocs.
How about we make the cost of a conference a priority? You can still hold a conference in a geographically desirable location and still not charge a fortune – the Ecological Society of America pulls this feat off regularly. How about everybody else, eh?
*This is the phone number for the meeting organizers, prominently placed on the meeting registration page. I’m not suggesting that you call them out of concern that they have priced meeting registration at One Thousand Dollars.
**Yes, there are early bird rates, and yes, there are student rates, and yes these are lower, and not by an equal margin. I arbitrarily selected a measuring stick to compare meetings. Feel free to do your own comparison and analysis in the comments, using the links I’ve provided, for other fee categories.