Messages from ISHPSSB São Paulo 2017

Message 1:

Dear graduate student ISHPSSB colleagues, and colleagues who supervise them,

If you are a graduate student, this is addressed directly to you; if you are a supervisor, please share it with your students and encourage them to participate in the 2017 ISHPSSB meetings!

We are writing to encourage graduate students to consider not just presenting your own work, but organizing a session at the 2017 meetings in Sao Paulo. ISH has a long tradition of encouraging full participation by student members, who present oral papers alongside more senior members of their field; you can strengthen that tradition, and enhance your own professional visibility, by organizing a session. You can either develop your own list of people to invite, or use the virtual Conference Board at the meeting website (http://ishpssb2017.abfhib.org/3-board.html) to post ideas for sessions and recruit/coordinate with colleagues with shared interests.

What’s in it for you? By organizing a session, you can ensure that your talk will be grouped with those of colleagues – including senior ones – in your immediate area; you earn a reputation for initiative; and you gain visibility by acting as organizer and session chair. And by recruiting your participants early, you can guarantee they will be speaking in your session, rather than in one that conflicts with it and splits your audience. You don’t need to have published work on a topic to organize a session: if you are at the start of a project or considering a new research direction, this is a great way to get helpful feedback from others in your field.

Moreover, since organized session submissions are eligible for rolling acceptances, the earlier you submit an organized session, the sooner you will hear about acceptance and the more choice you will have about the scheduling of your session.

Whom to invite: Consider a central theme or question, and whose work might connect. Of course you can invite people you already know, but being a session organizer is a great opportunity to reach out to colleagues whose work you admire, and potential new collaborators. It’s a chance to expand your network, and bring new and old ISH members together (including colleagues who’ve never attended ISH before). Finally, inviting speakers from diverse disciplines can generate exciting interactions – as well as a bigger audience.

How to do it: It’s never to early to start making inquiries, and you can review the different possible session formats on the meeting website (http://ishpssb2017.abfhib.org/2-4.html) to help you decide how you want to organize yours. Then you can contact potential participants, including links to the website (http://ishpssb2017.abfhib.org/index.html). This is your chance to “pitch” your session idea, and as you get commitments, you can include that information in future messages (“I hope you can join us; Prof. Plato has already agreed to participate”).

For information on how to get started, or if you have questions, you can check out the “organized session” section of the conference website (http://ishpssb2017.abfhib.org/2-4.html) — or feel free to contact us directly.

 

Message 2: 

If you are a graduate student, this is addressed directly to you; if you are a supervisor, please share it with your students and encourage them to participate in the 2017 ISHPSSB meetings!

We are writing to encourage you to consider submitting your work to the ISHPSSB 2017 conference as a poster. One of us had several students presenting posters in the last meeting in Montréal. It was a very good experience! Here are some clear advantages they found:

  • ISHPSSB meetings have several parallel sessions. By presenting your work as a poster, you will have to compete for your audience much less than if you give a talk.
  • More people will be likely to attend your poster than your talk, again due to the number of parallel sessions. Thus, you will have more chance to discuss your work with colleagues.
  • You will probably be less nervous talking to a few people at a time about your poster, than if you were facing a full audience in an oral session.

All that said, you are probably thinking that it is hard to present philosophical, historical or sociological work as a poster. But remember, you don’t need to put your whole argument there: you just need an outline from which you can talk to people about your work. (Moreover, since biologists are very familiar with the poster format, this will be a useful tool for communicating with them as well as with fellow HPS scholars.)

There are many online resources discussing what makes a good or a bad poster. Here are some links we recommend, if we have convinced you that a poster will be an exciting and attractive way to present your work at ISHPSSB 2017:

http://colinpurrington.com/tips/poster-design

http://guides.nyu.edu/posters

https://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/, also linking to advice from various sources: https://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/Resources.html

Wolcott TG. Mortal sins in poster presentations or how to give the poster no one remembers. Newsletter Soc Integr Compar Biol Fall. 1997. pp. 10–11. Available at: http://www.sicb.org/newsletters/fa97nl/sicb/poster.html

Here are some key tips (several borrowed from Purrington, C.B. Designing conference posters. Retrieved 21/3/16 from http://colinpurrington.com/tips/poster-design):

  • Design your poster to fit on the available display stands, which have a panel of 98 x 98 cm. It is OK if your poster is a little longer than 98 cm, but it can be no more than 98 cm wide.
  • Important information should be readable from about 3 m away.
  • Don’t add conference logos. Everybody knows what conference they are at, and adding a logo takes away precious space you need to make your title big enough.
  • The title should be short and raise interest.
  • Don’t include the abstract. It will be available to everybody in the abstract book, and you have to save space for the outline of your argument.
  • A poster should have from 300 to 800 words. It is an outline of your argument, not the whole thing. Text should be clear and to the point.
  • Bullets, numbering, and section headers make posters easier to read.
  • Use graphics, schemes, and other tools to draw attention, engage your readers, and keep them standing there long enough to appreciate your work (and maybe even discuss it with you).
  • Use a clean, consistent layout. A carefully-chosen (and limited) set of fonts and colors can highlight different sections, parts of arguments, and key ideas. Choose colors that can be distinguished by viewers with limited color vision (e.g. avoid red/green contrasts).
  • Take a look at good posters. You can find one here: http://www.personal.psu.edu/drs18/postershow/
  • Also take a look at a bad poster. Here is one: http://betterposters.blogspot.com.br/2011/04/critique-breast-cancer-inhibition.html

When you’re ready to submit your abstract and design your poster, make sure to read the information about posters on the conference website, http://ishpssb2017.abfhib.org/2-6.html.

 

See you in Sao Paulo!

Charbel El-Hani and Jessica Bolker, program co-chairs