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Annual Meeting 2020 Virtual Meeting FAQ We are very excited about the ability to bring SVP’s 2020 Annual Meeting to you, albeit in a virtual format, during this challenging year. As a result of the extraordinary and evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, SVP has been working since March to determine how best to bring this content to you while considering a number of factors including the health and safety of our membership, ability to negotiate out of three discrete Cincinnati venue contracts with minimal financial impact, and the identification of a virtual platform that fits SVP’s unique requirements, to name just a few. 
 
We know that it has taken quite a bit of time to get to this point and we thank you for your patience. However, our work has only has just begun! Between now and the conclusion of the annual conference, SVP will continue to rise and meet challenges related to this new format as we work to build this platform to provide the best content possible in the most inclusive way possible. We ask that you continue to bear with us as we navigate through this new territory that hosting a virtual meeting presents.
 
When will the meeting run?
The meeting will run from Monday October 12 through Friday October 16, 2020. During this time, pre-recorded talks and posters will be available for both asynchronous viewing, and moderated asynchronous Q&A, along with scheduled live networking sessions. The virtual meeting platform will open on Sunday October 11 for viewing only, and will remain open on Saturday, October 17 for asynchronous viewing of recordings only (no comment, no live sessions). Virtual content will be inaccessible after Saturday, October 17. To view the schedule of live content, please click here.
 
What will the meeting look like?
Talks and posters, including those associated with symposia, the Romer and the Colbert Prize sessions, will be pre-recorded and uploaded to our virtual platform prior to the start of the meeting (exact details will be provided as soon as possible). These pre-recorded talks and posters will be available online for the duration of the conference week. As stated in our pre-meeting survey, there are considerable costs associated with providing a full week of live-streamed talks and poster sessions, and accessibility issues for members in different time zones; hence, we have opted for pre-recorded content. There will be opportunity for asynchronous comments and questions associated with each pre-recorded presentation (talks and posters).
 
We do however recognise the value of interaction and networking, and this was clear from comments returned on the pre-meeting survey. Therefore, we will provide live events each day Monday-Friday and ways to interact with online content. This will be achieved by grouping talks and posters into themes (much like the in-person meeting schedule) with each theme allocated a moderated live question and answer session, Tuesday-Friday. We will be holding daily live sessions on diversity and student and early career researcher themes. We will also be running some of the proposed workshops as virtual events on Monday 13th October. All sessions will be subject to the virtual meeting code of conduct.  
 
Although the Romer Prize talks will be pre-recorded, the committee will be holding live question sessions with each presenter, to accommodate the spirit of live presentation inherent to the competition. The Colbert Prize committee will also be holding online question sessions with competitors, although these will not be live broadcast, as per the in-person competition. Furthermore, there will be the opportunity to arrange breakout sessions for smaller themed group chats and networking. All sessions will be off platform and will need to be moderated by SVP volunteers, and are subject to the virtual meeting code of conduct with consequences for those who violate the code (see below).  

I am scheduled to present a poster or talk at the Virtual Meeting. How do I gain access to the platform to upload my presentation and update my profile?
Poster and talk presenters should have received a Welcome Email from the platform with a link to your profile. Log in to view your profile, edit pages, add content, and more. If you did not receive an email, please check your spam filter for an email from “SVP Virtual<noreply@SVPvirtual.org>
 
What format will the posters take?
Posters will be uploaded prior to the start of the meeting and available for viewing Sunday-Saturday; they will be open for asynchronous questions Monday-Friday. Standard poster formats can be accompanied by a short maximum 3-minute audio introduction to the poster topic such as you might present during a live poster session. The poster displays are optimized for a 4:3 or 16:9 on-screen ratio and it is possible to zoom in on the poster.  In whatever software you are using to construct the poster, select the page size to reflect that ratio and then save or export the file as a PDF for upload to the SVP site. Some presentation software (e.g., Powerpoint, Google Slides) has this ratio as a default option. Posters should be in a ‘traditional’ format and should not consist of multiple pages. Posters may be landscape or portrait orientation. Please note that the platform does not support 3D PDFs. Please consider making your posters as accessible as possible (see:  https://www.w3.org/WAI/teach-advocate/accessible-presentations/). Viewers will be able to leave questions for the poster presenter and the presenter will be expected to engage with the questions at a time that is convenient to them during Monday-Friday of the meeting. Posters and talks will be grouped into themes to help attendees navigate to content of interest and as part of a synchronous, live networking session. Supported file types: Poster Document: PDF; Poster Audio: WAV, MP3. 
 
What format will the oral presentations take?
Talks will be uploaded prior to the start of the meeting and available for viewing Sunday-Saturday; they will be open for asynchronous questions Monday-Friday. The duration of your talk should be between 10-12 minutes. Note the minimum duration of the talk means that presentations can be slightly shorter this year. Please include captioning with your talk if at all possible (either spoken word subtitles, or brief written synopses). Please also consider making your presentation as accessible to all (see: https://www.w3.org/WAI/teach-advocate/accessible-presentations/). Viewers will be able to leave questions for the presenter and the presenter will be expected to engage with the questions at a time that is convenient to them during Monday-Friday of the meeting. Posters and talks will be grouped into themes to help attendees navigate to content of interest and as part of a synchronous, live networking session. To view a list of helpful tips on preparing and presenting virtual content, please click here. Supported file types: Talk Video: AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MWV.

Deadlines
The deadline to upload all presentation content and to customise your profile is Monday September 28th at 11:59pm US Eastern Daylight Time. This advance deadline provides time for SVP staff to quality check content and provide an opportunity to fix any issues with uploaded content. If you experience any problems with uploading your presentation or other aspects of the virtual platform, please contact support@conveyservices.com or by phone 1-888-975-1382.
 
Schedule and Program
To view the schedule of live content, please click here. We have worked to accommodate as many time zones as possible. This means that some of the sessions may be at unconventional times for your time zone, but we are doing our best to accommodate an international society. 

Timing for Release of Abstract Volume
We are actively working to finalize the abstract volume for release so that you may begin planning your participation in the virtual meeting. We will aim to post the pre-meeting advance abstract volume on the Annual Meeting homepage and distribute the volume to all registrants in the week commencing 28th September. We hope to make hardcopies of the final abstract volume available for purchase from lulu.com after the meeting. Further details will be posted on the Annual Meeting Homepage in due course.

What about the Annual Auction?
The Auction Committee worked hard this year to find an online auction format that suited a virtual rather than in person meeting. Although such formats exist for 'silent auctions' and live auction could have been scheduled via the platform, after serious consideration, the Executive Committee decided not to hold an auction event, live or silent, this year. Any such event would have placed the onus on those donating items large or small, to arrange postage and manage shipping costs; this may have prohibited the sale of many auction items only to US or North American members. The auction is an integral part of the SVP in-person meeting and the hard work and dedication of the committee means that large sums of money are raised each year. We therefore encourage you to donate what you would have spent at the auction to the fundraising efforts for the SVP Futures Award which will support summer undergraduate research projects in vertebrate paleontology by students who identify as underrepresented ethnic minorities or people of color. Look out for reminders from the auction committee and other committee members across the meeting platform!
 
How much will registration cost?
Though SVP would love to offer the virtual meeting to attendees for free, we do have a fiscal responsibility to ensure that we do not lose money on this event and ensure our ability to continue to fund future events and initiatives at the scale that our membership is accustomed to. Though we are satisfied with the outcome of our negotiations with the three Cincinnati properties, there remains a not insignificant penalty that SVP must pay in addition to the unplanned expense of the virtual meeting platform that will accommodate 600+ talks and posters and 5 days of live programming. Another consideration in our 2020 registration fees is the desire to provide deeply discounted fees for members most impacted by COVID-19, and our Undergraduate/Graduate Student/Transitional Early-Career members. 
  • We have therefore been able to reduce undergraduate/graduates and transitional early career member registration rates substantially (77%), while also reducing regular member registration rates by 50%. 
  • Furthermore, we recognise that 2020 has been a challenging year for many. if you have extenuating circumstances affecting your ability to pay the virtual meeting registration fee (for example but not limited to, redundancy, furlough), please send an email to meetings@vertpaleo.org to explain your situation and request concessions. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Conversely, if you are in a position to pay what would have been the full rate of an in-person registration fee due to grant funding or otherwise, we have created a registration option to allow you to select that option, and we thank you for your generous support. 
  • And lastly, SVP is thrilled to be able to reach more prospective registrants than ever before due to the virtual aspect of this year’s conference. Therefore, we are extending free registrations to all scientists (members and non-members) from economically developing nations, defined here as those nations with a UN HDI index on <=0.75 (the same criteria for the SVP Jon C. Graff Award for International Paleontology, formerly the SEDN award) . 
 
  Member Rate Nonmember Rate % Discount off Member In-Person Early Meeting Rate
Regular  $200 $300 51%
Optional Full Price Regular (for members w/ grant funds to spend) $410 $410 n/a
Undergraduate/Graduate Student/Transitional Early-Career Member $50 $100 77%
Developing Country/Institutional Member $0 $0 100%
 
 
Registration is now open. Click here for details on how to register.  
 
What about the membership grace period?
In order to present and/or attend the virtual meeting, registration is required. There will be member and non-member registration costs. Non-member attendees may choose to become a member at the point of registration or register as a non-member. All attendees, members or not, will be required to agree to the virtual meeting code of conduct. 
 
I’m presenting in the Romer Prize session, what do I need to do?
You will be required to pre-record your talk and upload it to the virtual platform provider site prior to the start of the meeting. Details on exact format, file types and instructions to upload will be provided in due course. The Romer Prize committee will view your talk and you will be required to attend a live question and answer session led by committee members and scheduled in the program, time to be confirmed. 
 
I’m presenting in the Colbert poster prize session, what do I need to do? 
You will be required to upload your poster and a short audio description of the research (duration to be confirmed) to the virtual platform provider site prior to the start of the meeting. Details on exact format, file types and instructions to upload will be provided in due course. The Colbert Prize committee will view your poster and will contact you to arrange an offline video discussion of your poster with two or more committee members. 
 
I’ve applied for a Jackson School of Geosciences Student Travel Grant
All recipients of the JSG Travel Grant will be given the following options: 1) Accept the award in 2020 in exchange for a free virtual registration; 2) Decline the 2020 award and reapply next year; 3) If unable to attend the 2020 meeting but ineligible in 2021, receive the honour of the award. 
 
I’ve applied for an SVP Award
We are in the process of finalizing the notifications to all of the 2020 award candidates. We will pre-record an official awards ceremony that will be accessible through the virtual meeting platform. The actual awards will be physically presented at next year’s meeting in Minneapolis.
 
I’d like to attend one of the workshops
We will be providing updated information on which workshops have switched to virtual format and registration details in due course and prior to opening of registration. Note that number of attendees is likely to be capped and sign-up operated on a first-come first served basis once registration opens on the 31st August (see above). 
 
What about Cincinnati? 
We have negotiated with the Duke Convention Centre and the conference hotels to bring SVP to Cincinnati in 2023 during October 17-21. We have already signed contracts for Minneapolis 2021 and Toronto 2022 that incur penalties should these dates be moved, hence 2023 is our next available meeting date. Glenn Storrs, Josh Miller and the host committee hope to bring you all the best that Cincinnati has to offer in three year’s time!
 
How will you construct and operate a virtual meeting code of conduct?
The virtual meeting code of conduct can be found here. The code applies to all attendees and any events linked in any way to the virtual meeting (on platform and off-platform). Any reports made within the virtual meeting system or to safesvp@vertpaleo.org will be investigated and violations may result in written warning, ejection from the meeting environment, reporting to the offender’s home institution and other penalties without refund of any applicable registration fees or other costs.

Meeting Certificates
Certificates of Attendance will be available upon request after the conclusion of the meeting. To request a Certificate of Attendance, please contact meetings@vertpaleo.org. Certificates will be provided upon verification of registration and participation in the virtual meeting.    

For general questions about the SVP 2020 Virtual Meeting or assitance with registration, please contact meetings@vertpaleo.org.