Is 2020 the year of the downfall of conferences and workshops?

The Covid-19 crisis of 2020 has led to the conversion of virtually all conferences and workshops to online/virtual events. In computer science, papers in conference and workshop proceedings are regarded as valuable parts of a CV. However, conferences were always predominately meant as meeting places where experts of the field directly communicate with each other at a physical location.

With online events, the meeting character of the event is somewhat compromised. The current online tools are a weak replacement for discussions at physical locations. In particular, there are no coffee breaks, no discussions at the social dinner, etc. All these elements fall short. Consequently, the registration fee drops significantly and makes a participation more attractive to authors.

I am afraid, that conferences and workshops are on a route to become just publication outlets with reduced standards for peer review when compared to journals. The lower prices may lead to even higher percentages of conference/workshop papers in the CV of a typical computer science author.

I have no solution to this dilemma. But I believe that CEUR-WS must consider to adapt its pre-conditions to filter out submissions with too low standards for the peer review. What do you think?

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