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Ten Simple Rules for Attending Your First Conference

by   Elizabeth Leininger, et al.
reed college

Conferences are a mainstay of most scientific disciplines, where scientists of all career stages come together to share cutting-edge ideas and approaches. If you do research, chances are you will attend one or more of these meetings in your career. Conferences are a microcosm of their discipline, and while conferences offer different perspectives in different disciplines, they all offer experiences that range from a casual chat waiting in line for coffee to watching someone present their groundbreaking, hot-off-the-press research. The authors of this piece have attended our fair share of conferences and have collectively mentored hundreds of students in understanding the "unwritten rules" and pro-tips of conference attendance. As you head to your first scientific conference, these rules will help you navigate the conference environment and make the most of your experience. We have also developed a web portal which contains far more information about these rules, tables of professional societies and conferences in different disciplines, and other resources that may come in handy for first-time conference attendees and their mentors. We encourage any reader to use, adapt, and contribute to these materials.


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