PLOS Computational Biology

Rocío Joo

Andrea Sánchez-Tapia

Sara Mortara

Yanina Bellini Saibene

Heather Turner

Dorothea Hug Peter

Natalia Soledad Morandeira

Matt Bannert

Batool Almazrouq

Elizabeth Hare

Laura Ación

Juan Pablo Narváez-Gómez

Marcela Alfaro Córdoba

Federico Marini

Rita Giordano

Silvia Canelón

Anicet Ebou

Adithi R. Upadhya

Joselyn Chávez

Janani Ravi


July 21, 2022



Conferences are spaces to meet and network within and across academic and technical fields, learn about new advances, and share our work. They can help define career paths and create long-lasting collaborations and opportunities. However, these opportunities are not equal for all. This article introduces 10 simple rules to host an inclusive conference based on the authors’ recent experience organizing the 2021 edition of the useR! statistical computing conference, which attracted a broad range of participants from academia, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector. Coming from different backgrounds, career stages, and even continents, we embraced the challenge of organizing a high-quality virtual conference in the context of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and making it a kind, inclusive, and accessible experience for as many people as possible. The rules result from our lessons learned before, during, and after the organization of the conference. They have been written mainly for potential organizers and selection committees of conferences and contain multiple practical tips to help a variety of events become more accessible and inclusive. We see this as a starting point for conversations and efforts towards building more inclusive conferences across the world. * Translated versions of the English abstract and the list of rules are available in 10 languages in S1 Text: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil, and Thai.

Foundational: 1) Vision, 2) safe environment, and 3) organizing team. Design: 4) Counter bias, 5) virtual/hybrid, 6) accessibility, 7) language, 8) communication, 9) finance. Continuity: 10) pass the torch

Schematic diagram of the rules organized in 3 groups: foundation (Rules 1 to 3), design (Rules 4 to 9), and continuity (Rule 10).
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