Reasons for introducing an APC (Abstract Processing Charge)

For the EGU General Assembly 2011, an Abstract Processing Charge (APC) of €40 has been introduced. At the same time, the registration fees for EGU2011 have been reduced by €40 from the value of General Assemblies in 2009 and 2010. For example, if you are a regular member, a pre-registration for EGU2010 was €390. In 2011 the pre-registration rate is €350, which added with the charge for one abstract €40 brings it to €390, the same as in 2010.

The main reason for the introduction of an APC is that during recent EGU General Assemblies, there has been 10-25% "no shows", people who submit abstracts but then do not present their poster or oral presentation. The reasons vary, but in participant's feedback, people frequently complain about the no shows. Therefore, as one attempt at dealing with "no shows", we have introduced the APC.

For every abstract you submit, there will be a non-refundable abstract processing charge (APC) of €40. If you choose to submit one abstract, this will bring you up to the same charge as registration alone from the EGU2010. If you submit more than one abstract, then the total charge will be more than the EGU2010, by another €40 for every abstract you submit.

We at the EGU realize that people submitting more than one abstract and thus paying more than other registrants is a contentious one. The decision was made based on extensive discussion at Council level and with Programme Group Chairs, along with additional querying amongst the broader community. The main reasons were the following:

  • There are actual costs associated with processing every abstract (processing costs of paper-work, electronic storage and processing of abstracts, oral room and equipment rental, poster board rental).
  • Paying for each abstract will result in authors considering if each one is truly individual and necessary (a small number of people will submit the "same" abstract to different sessions, then picking one and not presenting the others).
  • Paying for each abstract will discourage conveners from artificially increasing the number of abstracts in their session to increase the amount of oral presentation time for their session (the EGU has a rule whereby each session has roughly similar ratio of oral to poster presentations).

We are not trying to "make" more money compared to the EGU2010. We have examined the statistics, and the registration fees and abstract processing charge we have determined for the EGU2011 are based on our estimate of similar income per participant as EGU2010. Rather, we are trying to improve the General Assembly, by providing better oral and poster sessions which are not disturbed by a large number of no-shows. This will benefit both those presenting in the sessions and those in the audience.

As no-shows in the poster sessions are the most obvious (oral sessions have less no shows, but also can often get a "substitute" for a no-show), one method of addressing no-shows we began in recent General Assemblies was to increase the profile of posters: the introduction of poster discussion rooms, time block five reserved for posters (no competing non-union oral sessions), and items such as carpeting in the poster halls.

I hope this text explains a bit better the background and the practicalities of the Abstract Processing Charge introduction for the EGU2011.

Bruce D. Malamud
Programme Committee Chair, EGU2011
King's College London