Whoa…ScienceOnline has gone and died

They announced their decision to shut down the organization and cancel future conferences yesterday. This is sad news -- it has always been an innovative, interesting event, but they faced a terrible hit when one of their founders, Bora Zivkovic, was slammed with charges of harassing women, and they've been struggling to get donations to support the organization. I suspect they may also have gotten a bit over-extended, too, since they'd been creating satellite conferences on narrower topics at different locations (which was an excellent idea, by the way, but may not have been wise if their core operations were overtaxed).

The full announcement is below the fold.

The board of ScienceOnline has reached the difficult but unavoidable decision to dissolve the organization.

ScienceOnline has a rich history of dedication to its mission: cultivating the ways science is conducted, shared, and communicated online. Since 2007 we have convened popular and groundbreaking conferences that bring together scientists, science writers, bloggers, journalists and other science communicators to move the field forward in the digital era. Participants in these events inspired the growth of a wider community and sparked the development of many important related efforts.

We have faced uphill challenges throughout the past year in assembling the money and the people resources (both staff and volunteer) necessary for the organization to sustain all of its projects. We have put considerable effort into exploring different scenarios for partnering with other groups and/or scaling back our operations, but none of these has provided a path forward. In June we concluded that we did not have the resources to support a paid executive director position, and we eliminated it.

As a result of our state of insolvency, the ScienceOnline board of directors voted on Oct. 6 to proceed with a plan for dissolution, which we will implement over the coming weeks.

One unfortunate but necessary consequence of this decision is that we have to cancel the ScienceOnline Together 2015 conference scheduled for Atlanta in February. We have notified those who have already registered for ScienceOnline Together 2015 and will be fully refunding registration fees.

We're profoundly grateful for the countless ways that our participants, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, and friends have contributed to ScienceOnline over the years, and we're proud of what we've been able to achieve together. This may be the final chapter for ScienceOnline, but we have great hopes for the future of science communication, and we know that everyone who has made the ScienceOnline community what it was will continue to create that future.

Thanks to all of you.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, you are welcome to write me at scottr@wordyard.com.

Scott Rosenberg, for the ScienceOnline board:

Mark Benerofe
Meg Lowman
Scott Rosenberg
Karyn Traphagen

The organizers have been doing a great job, and I'll be looking forward to any of their future endeavors.

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