The Economic Cost of Attending Educational Conferences

Nicholas E. Rowe

Abstract


Conference attendance and presentation are ubiquitous practices across international academic, scientific and professional communities. However, their financial costs and implications have been little studied. Through an empirical analysis of a UK educational conference over three years (N=1,261), this paper examines the financial cost elements of fees, travel, accommodation and financial support that are common to international conference delegates. The findings show significant individual expenditures for both domestic and international delegates. When extrapolated to published global researcher populations, these costs indicate a multi-billion expenditure. However, this is balanced against issues of environmental impact that were raised in the study, and a reported climate of ‘lost conference research’ where conference presentations are not developed into accessible published work. The article concludes that in the face of such expenditures and negative impacts, concerted efforts are required to make conference attendance an objectively sustainable educational activity, especially in terms of fiscal and knowledge economies.

Keywords


Conferences; Efficiency; Economic impact; Return on investment; Scientific communication

Full Text:

PDF

References


ASAE [American Society of Association Executives]. (2014). The Power of Associations: An Objective Snapshot of The U.S. Association Community. Retrieved from https://www.thepowerofa.org/wp-content/uploads/.../PowerofAssociations-2015.pdf (Accessed 03.10.2018)

ASAE [American Society of Association Executives]. (2015). How many associations are there? Retrieved from http://www.asaecenter.org/AboutUs/ (Accessed 03.10.2018)

American Educational Research Association. (2017). About the AERA 2017 Annual Meeting. Retrieved from https://convention2.allacademic.com/one/aera/aera17/index.php

Bangor University. (2017). Demonstrating by Postgraduate Students (demonstrating and tutorial teaching). Retrieved from https://www.bangor.ac.uk/finance/py/py519.php.en (Accessed 05.10.2018)

BECA [Business Events Council of Australia]. (2015). The Value of Business Events to Australia (2015). Business Events Council of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.businesseventscouncil.org.au/files/View_Report.pdf

Breiter, D, & Milman, A. (2006). Attendees' needs and service priorities in a large convention center: application of the importance-performance theory. Tourism Management 27(6): 1364-1370. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2005.09.008

Cameron, M. (2013). Airline fare analysis: comparing cost per mile. Rome2Rio Pty Ltd. Retrieved from https://www.rome2rio.com/blog/2013/01/02/170779446/ (Accessed 04.10.2018)

CSIC [Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas]. (2018). Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. Available at: http://www.webometrics.info/en/node/54 (Accessed 03.10.2018)

ECM [European Cities Marketing]. (2014). The European Cities Marketing Meeting Statistics Report 2012. Dijon: European Cities Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.touristinfo.lviv.ua/download.php?downloadid=933

Eurostat. (2018). Greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=tableandinit=1andlanguage=enandpcode=t2020_rd300andplugin=1 (Accessed 06.10 2018)

Heriot-Watt University. (2016). Advertised appointment bands for Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor. Retrieved from https://bio-mechanik.org/wordpress/de/assistant-professor-associate-professor-professor-of-biomedical-engineering-2/ (Accessed 05.10.2018)

Hicks, M. (2016). Carbon Footprint of Conference Travel. The Programming Languages Enthusiast [online blog]. Retrieved from http://www.pl-enthusiast.net/2016/06/08/carbon-footprint-conference-travel/ (Accessed 06.10.2016)

HM Revenue & Customs. (2017). Approved professional organisations and learned societies. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/professional-bodies-approved-for-tax-relief-list-3/approved-professional-organisations-and-learned-societies

Huang, Q., Davison, R.M & Gu, J. (2008). Impact of personal and cultural factors on knowledge sharing in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Management 25(3), 451-471.

Hutchinson, J. (2016). Average price of a hotel room in the UK on the rise... but surprisingly London and Edinburgh buck the trend. Mail Online, 13.03.2016. Available at: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3490339/Average-price-hotel-room-UK-rise-surprisingly-London-Edinburgh-buck-trend.html#ixzz4YkBx5By4

Kalmus, P. (2013). Why did climate scientists emit 30,000 tonnes of CO2 this weekend? The Guardian [International edition] 11. 12. 2017. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/climate-scientists-emit-30000-tonnes-c02

Kim S., Lee, J.S, & Kim. M. (2011). How different are first-time attendees from repeat attendees in convention evaluation? International Journal of Hospitality Management 31(2): 544-553. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2011.07.014

Kordts‐Freudinger, R., Al‐Kabbani, D., & Schaper, N. (2017). Learning and interaction at a conference. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development 29(1): 29-38. doi: 10.1002/nha3.20169

Kovaleski, D. (2011). The Big News About Meetings. Association Meetings April 2011: 14-21.

Lee, J.S., & Min, C.K. (2013). Examining the role of multidimensional value in convention attendee behavior. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research 37(3): 402-425.

MPIFC [Meeting Professionals International Foundation Canada]. (2006). The Economic Contribution of Meetings Activity in Canada (2006). Dallas: Meeting Professionals International. Available from: http://www.iccaworld.com/dcps/doc.cfm?docid=1621

Neves, J., Lavis, J.N., & Ranson, M.K. (2012). A scoping review about conference objectives and evaluative practices: how do we get more out of them? Health Research Policy and Systems 10(1), 26. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-10-26

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]. (1996). The Knowledge-based Economy. Paris: OECD. Available from: https://www.oecd.org/sti/sci-tech/1913021.pdf

Perfetti, C. (1985). Reading Ability. New York: Oxford University Press.

PWC [PricewaterhouseCoopers]. (2014). The economic significance of meetings to the US economy. Interim Study Update for 2012 (Executive Summary). Alexandria VA: Convention Industry Council. Retrieved from http://www.ficpnet.com/sites/default/files/CIC%20Meetings%20ESS%20Update%20Executive%20Summary%20FINAL%20FINAL.pdf

ReadingSoft. (2016). Typical reading results. Available at: http://www.readingsoft.com/. (Accessed 02.03.2016)

Rittichainuwat, B.N., Beck, J.A., & Lalopa, J. (2001). Understanding motivations, inhibitors, and facilitators of association members in attending international conferences. Journal of Convention and Exhibition Management 3(3): 45-62. doi: 10.1300/J143v03n03_04

Rogers, T. (2008). Conferences and Conventions: A Global Industry (2nd edition). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Rowe, N. (2017a). Academic and Scientific Poster Presentation - A Modern Comprehensive Guide. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

Rowe, N. (2017b). The Value, Scope and Cost of Conferences: looking beyond the Events Industry. Paper presented at the annual meeting for the Society for Research into Higher Education - Annual Research Conference, §C1.2, p26, 6–8 December, Newport, Wales. Available from https://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2017/abstracts/0068.pdf

Rowe, N. (2018a). ‘When you get what you want, but not what you need’: the motivations, affordances and shortcomings of attending academic/scientific conferences. International Journal of Research in Education and Science 4(2): 714-729. doi:10.21890/ijres.438394

Rowe, N. (2018b). Conferences mean high times but low returns. Times Higher Education 12th April 2018: 48-51.

Saur, K.G. (2006). World Guide to Scientific Associations and Learned Societies. München: Die Deutsche Bibliothek.

Scherer, R.W., Langenberg, P., & von Elm, E. (2007). Full publication of results initially presented in abstracts. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews 2(2), 1-78. doi: 10.1002/14651858.MR000005.pub3/full

Scherer, R.W., Meerpohl, J.J., Pfeifer, N., Schmucker, C., Schwarzer, G., & von Elm, E. (2018). Full publication of results initially presented in abstracts. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11), Art. No.: MR000005. doi. 10.1002/14651858.MR000005.pub4.

Severt, K., Fjelstul, J., & Breiter, D. (2009). A comparison of motivators and inhibitors for association meeting attendance for three generational cohorts. Journal of Convention and Event Tourism 10(2): 105-119. doi: 10.1080/15470140902949695

Shone, A. (2009). The Business of Conferences. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.

Spinellis, D, & Louridas, P. (2013). The carbon footprint of conference papers. PloS one 8(6): e66508. doi. 10.1371/journal.pone.0066508

Statista. (2018a). Annual change in average global airfares from 2010 to 2018. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/324783/annual-change-in-average-global-airfares/ (Accessed 19.08.2018)

Statista. (2018b). Average number of days per meeting by type. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/search/?q=average+number+of+days+per+meeting (Accessed 09.10.2018)

Statista. (2018c). Average daily rate of the hotel industry worldwide from 2008 to 2017, by region (in U.S. dollars). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/245759/average-daily-rate-of-hotels-worldwide-by-region/ (Accessed 09.10.2018)

Times Higher Education. (2018). World University Rankings 2019. Available from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2019/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats (Accessed 06.11.2018)

UCU [University and College Union]. (2018). HE Single Pay Spine. Retrieved from: https://www.ucu.org.uk/he_singlepayspine (Accessed 05.10.2018)

UIA [Union of International Associations]. (2018). The Yearbook of International Organizations. Available from https://uia.org/yearbook?qt-yb_intl_orgs=3#yearbook_pages-page_yb_faq-0 (Accessed 03.10.2018)

UKCAMS. (2016). UKCAMS Conference and Meeting Survey (2016). Solihull: RJS Associates Ltd and Tony Rogers Conference and Event Services. Retrieved from http://ukcams.org.uk/published%20ukcams%20reports/index.html

UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization]. (1963). Scientific conference papers and proceedings: contents, influence, value, availability. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0002/000202/020249eo.pdf (Accessed 12.02.2017)

UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization]. (2015). UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002354/235406e.pdf (Accessed 17.09.2018)

United Nations. (2018). Climate Change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – Fifth Assessment Report. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/ (Accessed 09.10.2018)

VisitDenmark. (2012). The Economic Contribution of Meeting Activity in Denmark. Copenhagen: VisitDenmark. Retrieved from https://www.visitdenmark.dk/sites/default/files/vdk_images/PDF-and-other-files/Analyser/2012/the-economic-contribution-of-meeting-activity-in-denmark-2012.pdf

Yoo, J.J.E., & Chon, K. (2008). Factors affecting convention participation decision-making: Developing a measurement scale. Journal of Travel Research 47(1): 113-122. doi: 10.1177/0047287507312421


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
.