Personal Views

It's conference time again

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 23 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:817
  1. Derek Llewellyn-Jones, gynaecologist
  1. Sydney

    Another glossy brochure arrived in the mail today telling me that an international conference was to be held next year. The cover showed a glamorous colour picture of a North American city. Two years ago I had attended the previous international conference in a large city in South East Asia. The next one would be in Europe.

    I opened the A4 sized brochure and found the list of topics to be discussed. Looked interesting. I turned the page and found that 30 invited speakers would present papers at plenary or main sessions. Their names seemed familiar. I remembered that at least two thirds of them had been at the previous conference. They were on the conference circuit, suitably recompensed. No registration fee, business class air fare. I knew many of them--most were good communicators, had good slides, and were eminently verbal but would they really have something new to say? I doubted it. If there was anything of value it had been or would be published and accessible much more cheaply. The brochure told me that there would also be concurrent sessions, free communications, and poster sessions.

    The organisers expected at least 6000 delegates. Delegates? Delegates representing whom? No, the people who would pay good money to attend …

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