The Organizing Committee of the 2020 Bioinformatics Community Conference (BCC2020) has come to the difficult decision to hold the conference online. We are making this decision after much consideration of the ongoing spread of COVID-19, striving to take the most socially responsible action while maintaining a forum in which our community can share their work and discovery. It is hard to predict what things will look like in July, but given current reports and models, it seems unlikely that the situation will be back to “business as usual”. We also considered that, even if some people were able to attend, it is possible that many people would still find it difficult to travel to Toronto. We believe that making this decision now will allow us to focus on organizing an engaging conference in this new format.
We will be inviting our community to engage in new ways, and hope that BCC2020 will be an important space for discussion for the Open Source bioinformatics community.
The virtual meeting will still take place as planned, on July 18-21. There will be opportunities for training before the main meeting, and a CollaborationFest starting on July 22. We are discussing how to arrange the schedule to allow for participation across the globe; more details will be coming soon.
Registration will open in a few weeks, and fees will be lower than for an in-person meeting.
The abstract submission deadline has been postponed to April 30th. Abstracts will follow the usual submission and review processes.
There are many details to be worked out – for example, a meeting schedule that takes into account time zones, videoconferencing technology, ways to enrich our online interactions (while acknowledging that nothing can replace the vital social interaction that in-person meetings provide), etc. Many of these aspects are new for us too; we welcome your input, particularly if you have suggestions about how to make our first Virtual Bioinformatics Community Conference a success.
We are looking forward to exploring this new meeting format, and we hope you will join us.