R2R Delivered Successfully Online

The Researcher to Reader Conference took place on 23-24 February in an online format, but delivering on the promise of a fully-live and highly-interactive event.  The revised timetable, online technology and professional audio-visual team all contributed to delivering not just informative content, but also a venue for conversation for the participants, who joined in from over 20 countries.

Registrations for R2R 2021 were higher than for any previous year, and the turnout for the event was over 97% of those registered, which may be a record for an online conference. The participants included a large cohort of people working in publishing (45%) while over half were people from other parts of the ecosystem, including numerous librarians and academics.

The initial feedback from participants has been very positive, and R2R will, as usual, publish detailed results from the participant surveys.  Participant comments have included:

a triumphant success
loving the online collaborative sessions
a rich and rewarding conference experience
setting the new standard in virtual conferencing
the work put into creating a real live event really paid off
had a great time at the virtual Researcher to Reader this year
a good example of how the online experience has moved on recently
by far the best organized online conference I’ve “been” to
not all online conferences have to be death by Zoom
impressed at how engaging and interactive it was
an impressive attempt to defeat the lockdown
a really engaging program and format
a really good conference
brilliant job

The Conference was enabled by an online event platform, OnAir, which provided timeline management, a delivery environment for the plenary sessions, text chat, participant information, one-to-one text or video meetings, and a sponsor information venue.

The event used a professional audio-visual provider, Giggabox, to set up the platform and manage the studio, in order to ensure effective and high-quality broadcast of the plenary sessions. 

Over 6 hours of structured workshops and informal networking took place, primarily in a virtual rooms environment, Spatial Chat, which had been set up to simulate being at the usual venue, BMA House in London. Some workshops also used a virtual whiteboard application, Miro, to aid collaboration.

The 10-minute Lightning Poster sessions, delivered in the familiar Zoom environment, were particularly well-attended, with around 25-45 participants in each. These sessions covered a wide range of topics from blue-sky inventiveness to commercial presentations (permitted under this format).

Recordings of the plenary sessions have been made available to registered participants at R2R through the online event platform.  Recordings and slides will be made available via the R2R website within a few weeks following the conference, as usual.

The online platform also included an area to meet sponsors and to view sponsor materials including videos, PDF leaflets and a freely-downloadable ebook. We are grateful for the support from our sponsors, without whom the Conference would not be possible.

Planning for R2R in 2022, possibly as a hybrid event, is now underway!

Mark Carden
3 March 2021