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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 681-683
Brief technical guide for conducting an online open conference in resource-limited settings

1 Department of Physiology, Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital, Balangir, Odisha, India
2 Department of Physiology, Raiganj Government Medical College and Hospital, West Bengal, India

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Date of Submission01-May-2020
Date of Decision15-May-2020
Date of Acceptance15-May-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Oct-2020

How to cite this article:
Mondal H, Mondal S. Brief technical guide for conducting an online open conference in resource-limited settings. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2020;63:681-3

How to cite this URL:
Mondal H, Mondal S. Brief technical guide for conducting an online open conference in resource-limited settings. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 1];63:681-3. Available from: https://www.ijpmonline.org/text.asp?2020/63/4/681/299309

Dear Editor,

   Introduction Top

“Open conference” is a meeting that takes place online involving people with a shared interest, with the content being available for public access. It is a concept of combining “open” and “conference” where the conference materials are presented in a public domain.[1],[2] A traditional conference may be broadcasted online for wider dissemination of knowledge. However, professional organizers charge a hefty amount for providing the service.[3] A web conference or popularly known “webinar” can be conducted with online participants. However, this is to be conducted at a particular time that may cause inconvenience to many participants. In addition, a conference with a large number of presentations may be difficult to disseminate as a live webinar.[4] In this context, we are sharing a method of conducting an open conference online with minimal cost and technical knowledge.

   Resources Top

Very few devices and services are required for the model we are describing. A personal computer (PC), a smartphone, and an internet connection are the essential requirements. Required software and online resources are briefly described below.

Word processing software

Academicians are well aware of the word-processing software application – Microsoft Word. However, this is paid software. Open office (https://www.openoffice.org) may be used as a free alternative to Microsoft Word for typing a manuscript. After finalizing the paper, a Portable Document Format file can also be generated by these applications.

Multimedia presentation software

Microsoft PowerPoint is a great tool for presenting a paper in a conference. In addition, it can be used to make posters for presentation. OpenOffice Impress may be used instead of PowerPoint, which has similar functions.

Audio recorder and editor

For recording audio, we can either use a PC or a smartphone. Most of the computer operating systems provide a voice-recording application (e.g., Voice Recorder in Microsoft Windows 10). This can record voice from the inbuilt microphone. This software has basic features like trimming the audio. However, for more advanced features, we can use Audacity (https://www.audacityteam.org). It is open-source software that can be used to record and edit the audio. Smartphone-recorded audio can be shared with PCs and edited in Audacity.

Video editing software

Videos can be made with figures/images and audio in the background. Otherwise, the presenter can record him/her talking. Windows video editor can be used to make videos from images and audio. Furthermore, one can save the PowerPoint slides with narration as a Windows Media Video (.wmv). Webcam or smartphone may be used to record video when a presenter records himself/herself. A smartphone can be mounted on a tripod for better recording experience. Smartphone-recorded videos can also be edited further by free software like OpenShot video editor (https://www.openshot.org) on the PC.

Open-access file repository

There are online repositories (e.g. Zenodo [https://zenodo.org], Figshare [https://figshare.com]) where any digital research material can be stored. Each of the files gets a permanent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number. An author can deposit posters or full-length paper and get the DOI.[5] The article is permanently stored in the repository and anyone can cite the material with the DOI. The souvenir of the conference can also be stored in the repository.

Online slide sharing

PowerPoint slides can be shared online on slide hosting service providers like LinkedIn SlideShare (https://www.slideshare.net), Google Slides (https://www.google.com/slides/about), etc. Uploaded slides can be shared via a web link or it can be embedded on the website. The authors can upload the slides on these websites and share the link with the organizers.

Online sound sharing

Recorded audio can be directly shared from Google drive for those who use it. However, SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com) and Clyp (https://clyp.it) are two examples where a user can upload the recorded audio and link it to their presentation.

Online video sharing

The most popular video-sharing website is YouTube (https://www.youtube.com). Contributors may upload their video presentations on YouTube and share the link with the organizers. Vimeo (https://vimeo.com) is another video-hosting website that can also serve the purpose.

Conference website

The major problem of resource-limited organizations is to set up a website for a conference and paying web-hosting charges each year for keeping the content live for users. This problem can be solved by sacrificing fancy Uniform Resource Locator. We can opt for opening a blog website in Blogger (https://www.blogger.com) or WordPress (https://wordpress.com). These websites are very easy to set up with visual guidance. No coding expertise is needed. There are no set-up charges and the content would be online without any yearly charges.

Online form application

'Google forms' (https://www.google.com/forms/about) is a free service by Google where we can create forms to get responses. Organizers may use Google forms for recording participants' details before starting of the conference. Peer review or feedback on the conference can also be collected via the Google forms.[6]

Plagiarism search

Plagiarism should be checked by the author before submitting the content to the organizer. Text plagiarism can be checked by manually searching the sentences on Google within inverted commas.[7] Other limited free services can be availed from Plagiarism Checker X (https://plagiarismcheckerx.com), PlagiarismSearch (https://plagiarismsearch.com), and so on.[8] Organizers may also check agiarism Pl in a manuscript before posting it on the conference website.

   Task Allocation Top

The organizers invite abstracts either via email or via Google forms. Submitted abstracts are reviewed and authors of accepted abstracts are guided on how to make the content according to the requirements of the organizers. The authors prepare the content, upload it, and provide identifiers to the organizers. Keynote or symposium speakers also follow the same steps. Then the organizers build the website with the contents. Participants can browse the content according to their convenient time, place, and devices. They can view the content repeatedly whenever they wish. They can also ask questions to the authors by adding comments below the content. Organizers can request to do a peer review of a paper to get a certificate of participation in the conference. The task allocation is shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Task allocation to conduct an online open conference

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   Advantages and Disadvantages Top

The potential advantages and disadvantages of the online open conference are listed in [Table 1].
Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of online open conference

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   Conclusion Top

In a resource-limited setting, an organization can arrange an online open conference with minimal expertise and get contributions from the authors from any corner of the world. Interested people can access the conference material according to their convenient time. This short technical guide would help authors and organizers to use free online services for the creation, preservation, and dissemination of conference material worldwide.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Definition of open in English. Lexico powered by Oxford. Available from: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/open. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 1
Definition of conference in English. Lexico powered by Oxford. Available from: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/conference. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 2
Parthasarathi R, Gomes RM, Palanivelu PR, Senthilnathan P, Rajapandian S, Venkatachalamet R, et al. First virtual live conference in healthcare. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2017;27:722-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fadlelmola FM, Panji S, Ahmed AE, Ghouila A, Akurugu WA, Entfellneret JD, et al. Ten simple rules for organizing a webinar series. PLoS Comput Biol 2019;15:e1006671.  Back to cited text no. 4
Mondal H, Mondal S. Reply to “Letter to editor” written in response to “Perspectives on poster as a presentation mode in conferences”. J Curr Res Sci Med 2018;4:128-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  
Mondal H, Mondal S, Ghosal T, Mondal S. Using Google forms for medical survey: A technical note. Int J Clin Exp Physiol 2019;5:216-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Mondal S, Mondal H. Google search: A simple and free tool to detect plagiarism. Indian J Vasc Endovasc Surg 2018;5:270-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
  [Full text]  
Mondal H, Mondal S. How to check plagiarism free of cost from authors' end. J Dent Res Rev 2017;4:74-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  

Correspondence Address:
Himel Mondal
Department of Physiology, Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital, Balangir, Odisha - 767 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_479_20

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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


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