Society for Neuroscience reverses refund coverage for in-person convention registrants | Spectrum
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The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has lifted its refund policy for the organization’s annual meeting after an outcry from would-be conference attendees on social media. Those who no longer want to attend the meeting can request a refund of the registration fee, the organization announced today.
Neuroscience 2021 was planned as a hybrid meeting, with online sessions November 8-11 and face-to-face sessions November 13-16 in Chicago, Illinois. On Friday, SfN announced that the personal part of the meeting had been canceled because more than half of the speakers had resigned or were excluded from the trip due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“When we made the decision in spring to have personal experience with Neuroscience 2021, vaccine optimism was high and the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant had not caught on in the USA, the infection rates were low and we believed in it. “There would be great enthusiasm for a face-to-face meeting and that international travel bans would be lifted,” wrote SfN President Barry Everitt in today’s statement. “We were wrong.”
As Spectrum reported on Friday, the cancellation sparked a spate of questions about registration fees from researchers who said they wanted to attend the face-to-face portion of the meeting but did not want to pay the full virtual conference registration price.
SfN initially said it was offering a 50 percent discount on the 2022 annual membership fee for anyone who personally registered to participate. These dues range from $ 32 for students to $ 210 for full members. However, registrants were quick to respond on social media and found that this discount was only a fraction of the $ 485 convention registration fee charged by SfN – this number is higher for non-members and higher for student members and members from countries with lower levels Income lower. Today’s update states that anyone can request a refund until October 25th.
“SfN is revoking the previously announced refund policy for 2021 and this change to the policy replaces any prior communication. We apologize for the confusion and conflicting information, ”read the updated cancellation notice. SfN also pointed out that anyone who registered after the October 4 pre-registration deadline would only pay the pre-registration price to attend the virtual sessions, and whoever paid the higher price would be refunded the difference. Financial reasons have not made any decisions about a face-to-face meeting or its subsequent cancellation, and SfN will lose a significant sum of money, Everitt wrote in his announcement.
The researchers used Twitter to voice their approval of the move, but noted other concerns. Although SfN Housing automatically canceled all hotel bookings, students and academics are likely to be hooked for other expenses, they say.
“Well done @SfNtweets for doing the right thing and changing the refund policy for ECRs and others who chose to attend the canceled face-to-face meeting,” wrote Geraint Rees, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, UK . “This concerns non-reimbursable travel expenses, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Well done @SfNtweets for doing the right thing and changing the refund policy for ECRs and others who wanted to attend the canceled face-to-face meeting. This applies to non-refundable travel expenses, but it is a step in the right direction. pic.twitter.com/R96mwPCL9T
– Geraint Rees (@profgeraintrees) October 11, 2021
Others expressed concerns about whether the SfN would reimburse abstract submission fees for registrants who planned to attend or present in person.
“If I didn’t miss it, won’t SfN reimburse abstract submission fees?” Wrote Mark D. Namba, a Ph.D. Student at the University of Florida at Gainesville. “It makes no sense to reimburse participants for registration without also reimbursing the abstract fees if they want to withdraw completely from the conference.”
If I didn’t miss it, won’t SfN reimburse abstract submission fees? It makes no sense to reimburse attendees for registration without reimbursement of abstract fees if they want to withdraw completely from the conference.
– Mark D Namba (@MdNamba) October 11, 2021
“This is a great move, but a lot of people want to get out of the conference altogether and get a refund of the abstract fee ($ 140),” wrote Stephen Maren, professor of behavioral neuroscience at Texas A&M University at College Station.
This is a great move, but a lot of people want to withdraw from the conference altogether and get a refund of the abstract fee ($ 140) as well. https://t.co/kBwHZ9MGp9
– ???? Brains from steve ???? (@StephenMaren) October 11, 2021
The cancellation of the face-to-face meeting “stinks” to people who were scheduled to go, says Audrey Brumback, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Texas at Austin who wasn’t planning on attending the conference. “But for the people who wanted to attend virtually, I think it will be a much richer experience than it would have been a hybrid meeting.”
SfN did not immediately respond to the request for comment.