SPIE responds to COVID-19

16 November 2020

While everyone's situation is different, COVID-19 has created a challenging new normal for most of the SPIE members, volunteers, and constituents we serve. You are not only researchers, business people, and engineers but perhaps also parents who may now be caring for children at home and employees whose jobs and lives are now more complicated.  

Although 2020 continues to be a challenging year, SPIE is serving the entire optics and photonics community with offerings that are both valuable and convenient. We aim to improve in ways core to our mission — information sharing, lifelong learning, and professional connections, which are even more important as we work remotely or adjust to new circumstances.  

SPIE leadership chose to use accumulated financial resources to support the optics and photonics community by offering free registration in 2020 for Digital Forums to all attendees and presenters. By eliminating cost barriers and simplifying participation, tens of thousands of people have published research results, learned new technical methods, and stayed active with SPIE while travel has been restricted or impossible. 

We have updated our publishing policies to recognize the complications you may be experiencing. SPIE also lowered our Digital Library subscription rates to reflect the changing budgets many institutions will be facing.  

We have launched SPIE.Online, hosting webinar sessions covering technologies and applications, public policy, career advancement, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. With new online events weekly, we aim to provide valuable content for everyone's schedule and interests. Access to archived presentation recordings are free to all SPIE Members.  

This approach is not financially sustainable forever, yet in 2020 SPIE is focused on cost-free and convenient online services to help our community make progress during the pandemic. We hope that you benefit from these digital options, learn from each other, and connect with peers and colleagues while unable to travel.  

In addition to discovering new ways to serve our community and host conferences, we have been reminded of the importance of connection. We miss bringing people together and look forward to the return of our in-person events.  

As we look forward with optimism and plan for in-person meetings next year, we recognize that conditions are uncertain, so we continually monitor health and travel guidance and adjust our plans. The safety of our attendees and staff come first, and we will not hold an in-person event until these issues are appropriately addressed.  

When we cannot hold an in-person event, we will continue to transform conferences into Digital Forums, so you can continue sharing results and learning from the work of colleagues and researchers from around the world. Please see the event homepage for the current status of individual events.  

The SPIE family extends best wishes to you, your colleagues, and your families. After this health crisis passes, we look forward to gathering our community together for productive and enjoyable events where you and other scientists, engineers, students, researchers, and businesspeople will work together to create a brighter future.

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