Work interests: research, editing, ethnobotany, prehistory, plant genetics
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Aroideana, Economic Botany, Farming Matters, PLoSOne
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Economic Botany, Ethnobotany Research and Applications, New Scientist, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter, Archaeology in Oceania
Globally there may be thousands of academic conferences, small and large, held around the world each year.
In my own limited experience, most academic conferences are initiated and organised by academic institutions and staff. The larger meetings may involved commercial conference support services and organizing of various kinds, but the commercial services and organizers have not initiated any of the meetings I have attended.
Currently I am involved with preparations for the 8th World Archaeology Congress to be held in Kyoto in late August this year (see wac8.org).
My role is relatively minor - a theme co-organizer responsible for assessing session proposals and paper submissions for one of the main themes of the Congress.
It is a large congress that is held every few years in a different part of the world, and may attract as many as 2,000 participants, approximately. High registration fees are requested for participants from wealthier nations, and these fees will be used for preparation, support staff during the Congress, and to support attendance by many participants from low-income countries. The Congress also depends on academic funding sources, sponsorships, and extended volunteer efforts by many people.
A Congress organized in this matter depends largely on cooperation, good will and good communication among a large number of people scattered around the world.
To coordinate all this requires a quite deep hierarchical structure of committees and organizing teams. At the same time, any member of the WAC membership is free to contact key persons at any level in the organization.
The formal structure is much needed, but we also depend on informal networking and contacts to raise issues that have been overlooked and to bring problems to light at as soon as possible.
The organizing process begins with a decision about where to hold each Congress years in advance, usually during or soon after the preceeding Congress. The process is relatively transparent, and participants can readily learn about the history of the Congress and its academic foundations.
When considering whether to join this or any other academic meeting, it is useful for potential participants to study the origin and history of the meeting, the motives and aims of the organizers, and the results or publications of past meetings involving the same organizers or organization.
Having said all that, if an enitrely new meeting is proposed by an enthusiastic academic team with new ideas, then the lack of any established meeting series or history should not matter.
What matters most is whether or not the meeting will be useful for the participants, for the research field, and as a stimulus for research communication.