2020 AAR Annual Meeting Moves Online

July 13, 2020

In the interest of the health, safety, and well-being of our members, in light of the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to uphold our organizational mission, provide opportunities for, and meet our obligations to our members, the AAR Board of Directors has cancelled the in-person Annual Meeting scheduled for Boston, Massachusetts, November 21-24, 2020, and will hold an online Annual Meeting in late November or early December. This online AAR Annual Meeting is not intended to replicate our typical in-person meeting but will provide registrants with venues for scholarly engagement and networking. We are excited about the opportunities this meeting may open for members who would not have been able to attend the Boston meeting and look forward to learning from the experience. We are grateful for your patience as we worked through the competing priorities and obligations brought about by this unprecedented situation. More details will be forthcoming; others are addressed in the questions and answers below.

José Cabezón, President

Alice Hunt, Executive Director


Why will the 2020 Annual Meetings be online?

The 2020 Annual Meetings hosted by AAR and SBL will be online because both organizations have determined that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot safely conduct an in-person meeting this year. The health, safety, and well-being of members is of paramount importance to us. We are mindful that some of our members are at high risk for significant health effects from the virus. In addition, global travel remains heavily restricted, and some areas of the United States, including Massachusetts, are requiring a quarantine period when traveling into the state. We also carry a concern for the city of Boston and its inhabitants and how a meeting as large as our Annual Meetings could impact the city during this uncertain time.

When will the online Annual Meetings take place, and what are the plans for them?

While specific details of dates and schedule will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, expect the online Annual Meetings to be in late November or early December and last for a longer period than the typical in-person meeting in order to accommodate paper presentations and time zones. We are committed to providing stimulating scholarly exchange, professional development, exhibitions of the latest publications and resources, and ways to network with colleagues old and new. At the same time, we are excited for the new opportunities that come with an online meeting, such as making it more broadly available to scholars across the globe and incorporating technology to improve accessibility for differently abled members.

Will there be a registration fee for the online Annual Meetings?

The registration fee for the online Annual Meetings will be the same as the early-bird rate for the in-person meeting ($200 for professional members, $80 for students and retired members). Note that this rate will not increase.

The registration fee helps to offset a portion of the substantial costs that come with producing an Annual Meeting of this size, even an online one. Such costs include the virtual platforms that will host numerous sessions and exhibits, the development of the mobile and desktop apps that will deliver and manage the content, the staff who plan the logistics of the Annual Meeting, and the necessity of hiring additional support to ensure that many sessions run as smoothly as possible in an environment that will be unlike any previous Annual Meeting. The revenue of the Annual Meeting also helps fund the mission and work of your AAR year-round. We hope that, since the registration fee is a relatively small portion of the total cost (travel, lodging, etc.) of the typical in-person meeting, registrants will see a significant overall cost reduction for participating in the meeting.

If I had already registered for Boston, what do I need to do?

In a word, nothing. Your registration will automatically be good for the online Annual Meeting. If you wish to cancel your registration, you may do so without any cancellation fee through October 21.

I booked a hotel room when I registered for the Boston Annual Meetings. What do I need to do?

If you reserved a hotel room through the AAR Annual Meeting registration process, your hotel reservation has already been cancelled; there is nothing you need to do at this time. If you booked a hotel independently (i.e., not as part of your AAR registration), you will need to cancel that reservation on your own.

My paper was accepted for the Boston Annual Meetings. What does that mean for me?

While the specific details of some session plans may shift in the coming weeks, we are committed to finding a place for every accepted paper to be presented as part of the online Annual Meeting. Please watch for communication from Program Unit Chairs as well as from the AAR Scholarly Engagement staff.

We are currently updating our websites to provide more information about the online 2020 Annual Meeting and will continue to do so as details are confirmed. Please read the Annual Meetings FAQ for more information. For registration refunds and related questions, email reg@aarweb.org. For other Annual Meeting questions, email AnnualMeeting@aarweb.org.