APS News

Trial Program Puts Selected Meeting Presentations on the Web

APS is launching a trial program at its April Meeting to allow researchers, especially those based outside the United States, access to some of the meeting’s presentations. Using INDICO, a scientific collaboration service developed by CERN, select speakers will upload their presentation materials directly to the web, before, during or after the meeting. This trial will provide access to presentations from eleven of the regular invited sessions, as well as the three plenary sessions.

“Our aim is to facilitate the dissemination of fresh new scientific results,” said Karsten Heeger, chair of APS’s Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA). “From our experience people are always eager to share their talks and share their results.”

Though the use of INDICO is a one-time trial, organizers hope to garner information about who is interested in remote access to the presentations, and how best to market it. Responses from the membership, speakers and meeting attendees will be useful to the APS Headquarters IT (HQIT) staff as they enhance the APS Online Bulletin system to include the ability for speakers to upload their presentation materials. This feature is currently under development.

“The trial should help us learn how the speakers and membership may use online access to slide presentations,” said Amy Flatten, APS Director of International Affairs. “It’s part of a larger effort to make our meetings more accessible to our members outside the United States.”

About 25 percent of APS’s non-student membership resides outside of the United States. For the test program, both members and non-members will be able to access the presentations.

“What we want to do is provide a level of service to our international members that doesn’t currently exist and a level of access to our meetings that doesn’t currently exist,” Flatten said.

“We would like to showcase the interesting and broad science that is represented at the April meeting at the plenary sessions and talks,” Heeger said. “We selected the plenary sessions and then a cross section of invited and contributed talks, from the fields of nuclear, particle and astrophysics.”

The sessions picked to be posted online include the three plenary sessions as well as several of the scientific and forum sessions. The scientific sessions include “T1: The future of Particle Physics,” “J1: The Essence of Neutrinos,” “Q3: Direct Detection of Dark Matter,” and “J3: New Results from the Cosmos.” The forums on Physics in Society and International Physics are sponsoring four sessions. They also include “E5: Nuclear Weapons at 65,” “J6: The Digital Divide in 2010,” “Y5: Science Diplomacy,” and “R5: The Status of Arms Control.”

The sessions were chosen in part because research in particle physics, astrophysics and nuclear physics is often part of large international collaborations. With the capability to self-upload presentation materials, scientists can instantly share their latest results with the world.

While the INDICO trial grew out of CISA’s desire to bring meetings content to our international members, the trial results will help shape the APS HQIT plans for expansion of the Online Bulletin to offer upload capability to all meeting speakers. The Committee on Meetings (COM) will determine the final feature set of the Speaker Slide Upload module, but the IT team is currently designing the system to support .ppt, .pdf, audio files and others. It will also include a Copyright Permission signoff, granting APS the right to post the slides, and confirming that the speaker has obtained permissions for any copyrighted material contained in the slides.

A few APS units currently post selected presentations online, but the manual process introduces a time delay that will be eliminated by giving speakers a self-upload function. This trial is the next step toward a comprehensive approach to putting meeting sessions on the web. More information on how to access the presentations from this year’s meeting can be found on the APS website.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos