Virtually Shaping the Future of Polar Research
AGU Fall Meeting
San Francisco, California, USA
The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is an international and interdisciplinary organization for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, early faculty members, educators and others with interests in Polar Regions and the wider cryosphere that started as a result of the International Polar Year (IPY). APECS is leading the way for virtual communication of polar research through several activities: an online Polar Literature Discussion Forum, a Virtual Poster Session, and Communication beyond the conference setting. APECS has created an extensive online discussion forum where researchers share both classic and cutting-edge literature articles and critique techniques that were used by authors, helping to improve methods as well as discover new ways to approach polar research questions. Many researchers present their results as posters at conferences. APECS has taken this process to a new level by creating a format to display previously presented posters online instead of these files simply sitting on a researcher’s hard-drive. Not only are the posters online, a monthly conference call open to hundreds of participants allows researchers to share their work with a new audience - fellow researchers, community members, potential colleagues, policy makers and educators. These calls are recorded and archived online so the next time someone visits the poster, they can hear the researcher describe their work and communicate with the researcher questions they may have, potential ways to collaborate or share different methodologies to improve future endeavors. Peer-reviewed literature articles are the currency of science and APECS has capitalized on this by creating a way for researchers to increase the exposure of their publications beyond the table of contents published by journals. The Polar Literature Discussion Forum is a new way for researchers to share their papers, as well as discuss classic articles. This has become a popular place where IPY related research is being archived in a non-traditional manner. Researchers are sharing not only their papers, but insights on data collection and how other researchers could improve on what they have done during the IPY. The IPY has created many new research projects and stimulated new questions and created cutting-edge techniques to address these problems. APECS is helping to carry on these discussions beyond the typical conference settings directly to a researcher’s office or at home on their couch. These communication tools will help to stimulate discussion carrying forward the research questions addressed and created during the IPY.