Wikipedia Science Conference/Speaker guidance

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Hello all,

you are the accepted plenary speakers for the Wikipedia Science Conference on 2nd and 3rd of September. I’m really excited about the variety and quality of the sessions that have come together, and it’s an honour to this conference that so many of you are taking the time to put your work in the spotlight. Some of you are coming very long distances and that is hugely appreciated.

A draft programme is available at Wikipedia_Science_Conference/Programme Some actions:

  • If the slot isn’t what you expected, don’t panic: like I said, it’s a draft and publishing a full programme this far ahead of the conference is a WP:BOLD move. Just talk to me and we can sort something out.
  • Please check that the affiliation next to your name is up to date.
  • You can link your name to anything: institutional page, personal blog, Twitter feed... but one non-Wikimedia link only, please. I will be adding Wikimedia usernames to the delegate list to encourage on-wiki interaction.
  • If I still don’t have the final title for your session, please supply it (in email to me) as soon as possible. There is not such a rush for abstracts, but I will need an abstract for your session if there is not already one on-wiki.

Action: Please book for the conference using this link, which will register you without charge. We need you to do this for the delegate list, and so that we have your dietary requirements. If you are only available on one day (I hope this doesn’t apply to many of you), please state in the dietary requirements that you will not need a meal on the other day.

Action: Please book your travel and/or accommodation early and take advantage of advance discounts. Thanks to the charities and volunteers involved, this is almost a no-budget conference, but we have a budget for speaker expenses. You will need to keep receipts for expenses in order to claim, and expenses need to be reasonable (e.g. train, but not first-class; hotel with en-suite, but not a luxury hotel). There is some guidance for local accommodation on the conference page.

Some of you who have already told me that you do not need expenses: you have done a service to public health by keeping my blood pressure in manageable limits. By avoiding early starts, I hope I’ve made it feasible for some of you to commute in on both days rather than staying in London.

Despite the historic setting, you will be speaking in a modern auditorium, well-equipped in internet and audio-visual terms. Live internet demos will be possible. If you are going to be using your own laptop, bring whatever adaptors are necessary. If you want to travel light, I recommend having your presentation files both accessible online and on a USB stick.

There will be a moderator who will introduce you and invite questions. It might be me as convenor, but more likely I will look at the registered attendees and invite someone working in a similar area to you to moderate your session.

Your time slot includes 20 or 10 minutes for presentation and 10 or 5 minutes for questions. The balance between presentation and questions is somewhat flexible, and of course you might spend more time speaking because of questions from the audience. However, I do not want anyone to exceed their overall time slot. In fact, I will rudely cut people off if it looks like this is going to happen. Especially if you are doing a short talk, rehearse it in advance to make sure you’re not going to overrun.

The unconference block and refreshment breaks will give lots of opportunities to talk further with the audience. We want you to share skills, learn from each other, and inspire people. Hence it is okay, even encouraged, to use your speaking slot to invite people to meet with you during the unconference.

Your audience will include a range of scientific interests. There will be some very technical people and some non-technical people. Some people come to these conferences just out of curiosity, with a professional involvement in science but knowing very little about open science or Wikimedia. So watch out for jargon. Like a Wikipedia article, start with a very accessible orientation, then introduce the interesting details. Talk about what you are doing, but relate it to the “big picture”, however you see that. If you want to share code or other technical nitty-gritty, invite people to do that in the breaks or the unconference.

We expect all speakers to upload their presentation materials to Wikimedia Commons before, during, or immediately after the conference. If you have a slideshow, this will normally have to be saved in the paradoxically not-very-open PDF format. If you use non-free materials in your presentation, you will have to take them out to make a sanitised version for sharing. If you have any issues with this, or need help doing it, talk to me.

It’s okay to use a slideshow, but use it imaginatively: audiences are turned off by slides full of text that the presenter just reads out. Some of the best, most memorable slideshows have no text at all.

Thanks for reading all of this and have a great Summer. I will send a separate message about how you can help publicise the conference, but for a start, keep an eye on Wikimedia UK’s blog and Twitter (@wikimediauk). Cheers!