The European Geosciences Union (EGU) just announced the launch of EGUsphere, a new online platform designed to promote global networking and open discussion within the Earth, planetary and space science community. EGUsphere will serve as a central repository for all contributions, presentations and manuscripts presented to EGU. In particular, EGUsphere will host abstracts and presentations from the Union’s annual General Assembly, with the opportunity to engage in virtual discussions and to promote mentoring activities and green networking. In this blog post, EGU President Alberto Montanari tells us about the new opportunities EGUsphere will offer.
In 2001, EGU pioneered the idea of openly discussing and reviewing manuscripts submitted to our journals. We would now like to extend these open discussions to EGU presentations: posters, PICOs and orals. Presentations may be uploaded prior to or after the conference and then commented on and revised. It will be an exciting opportunity to receive comments on new ideas, to get advice and mentoring, and to engage with virtual networking. In a subsequent phase EGUsphere will also host preprints posted for public peer-review discussion, with a possible later submission to an EGU journal. In this way it will serve as a central repository for any contribution submitted to EGU. The new platform gives the geosciences community the opportunity to engage in global and virtual discussions on geoscientific discoveries starting with their inception.
What benefits are you expecting for people who attend the EGU General Assembly?
I am expecting an opportunity to increase global networking. Interactions on presentations will not be limited to the week of the conference. It will start in advance, be continued in person during the conference, and then carried on virtually after the meeting. It will be an exciting opportunity for researchers at every stage of their careers, from early career scientists to more established researchers who are looking for more virtual networking. Also, let me say that EGUsphere will be a fundamental step forward towards green scientific interaction.
Do you think EGUsphere could help address the impacts of reduced scientific conference attendance as a result of COVID-19?
The idea of EGUsphere came well before COVID-19, as we started working on it soon after I began my presidential term one year ago. But in the current global emergency surrounding COVID-19, I think we need to find innovative solutions for virtual working, virtual meetings and virtual mentoring. Science must continue to play its fundamental role for the benefit of humanity. I think EGUsphere can provide a really important contribution to help our geoscience community recover from the academic impacts of COVID-19.
Will EGUsphere host the contributions submitted to the EGU General Assembly 2020?
We indeed planned to launch EGUsphere by hosting abstracts and presentations submitted to EGU 2020. We received some 18,300 abstracts, which will find a home in EGUsphere. Many of our authors this year will notice that their abstract has already received a DOI, which was always planned to be linked to EGUsphere. Regardless of the General Assembly 2020 physically taking place, we are planning to make EGUsphere available to upload presentations and related discussions into EGUsphere.
Do you think researchers will engage using EGUsphere?
I believe early career scientists, in particular, know the potential of virtual communication and digital networking. They are transforming the way scientific discoveries are disseminated. Because of this growing enthusiasm from the early career members of our society, I am sure other researchers will recognise the opportunity that discussing ideas throughout the course of their research may offer. I am also sure that the whole community will follow, as EGUsphere allows us to connect online and contribute to the discussion according to our own schedules, which many busy scientists will find useful. EGUsphere will be a remarkable innovation for the Earth, planetary and space sciences community.