The Scientists recently published an opinion piece by Wolf B. Frommer entitled “An Ethical Code for Conferences.” The piece questioned whether a fundamental form of scientific communication is threatened by modern recording technology.
Below is a short snippet from the article.
“I recently attended several conferences and saw rampant recording of lectures and posters. Because my talk contained a lot of unpublished work, I asked the audience to refrain from taking pictures. But just five minutes into my talk, I saw multiple cell phones up recording my lecture. I repeated my request, and the people put their phones down. Ten minutes later, however, the very same people did it again. I asked once more, yet one person continued to record my slides.
Scientific conferences are meant to inform the attending audience about the newest results. No one wants to hear only published work; we attend meetings to get the absolute latest information that is coming out of labs. To be able to do that, an honor code exists that conference-goers cannot make use of data presented to advance their own work. While some have broken this code in the past, by and large it has been respected by the scientific community—until now. These days, with the use of new information technologies and social networks, this ethical principle is in serious jeopardy.”
What do you think? Do you agree?