Since working on Project Anansi as part of the Lindau Sciathon event, I’ve been very interested in the prospect of implementing a platform that would allow chemists to share open access webinars, thus broadening their audience globally. See the previous posts [1 and 2] for more details on why. Anansi partnered with the team in MIT who had developed earlier in 2020 to expand their platform to support other disciplines (including Chemistry and Economics).

I worked together with @AnywhereChem in order to develop a list of sub-topics in chemistry, which are now listed on ResearchSeminars website. Please see below an email I have circulated asking people to consider adding content. The flyer is available here [PDF].

Make chemistry seminars and conferences accessible worldwide:

Dear colleagues

I would like to draw your attention to a new resource now available to chemists to both share and discover webinars, talks, conferences and more, which are happening online all around us:

This strange year with its lockdowns and travel restrictions has been very difficult, however one silver lining has been a golden age in online chemistry talks on every topic imaginable, available right at your desk. It has become clear that online research talks, seminars and conferences are here to stay in one form or another, even as many other aspects of our work return to normality. This will continue to benefit researchers and students, particularly those who are not based in big universities or large cities, including researchers in the developing world. However, it is still very challenging to keep up-to-date with all these interesting events with different hosts advertising in different ways, and making sure you don’t miss the most relevant talks. can be a solution to that obstacle. Some mathematics researchers at MIT built this free site, which is available to all and has valuable search tools, such as filtering by topic and language. Thanks to our positive interactions with the founders, since September, the site is accepting Chemistry talks. This is in addition to its use to great effect by researchers in Physics, Maths, Biology, Economics and Earth Sciences, which were supported since earlier in 2020, now totalling thousands of talks. Adding listings is easy (requires a free account) and will amplify the possible audience of your events once chemists start using this resource in earnest. Making our seminars and events “open access” is a positive step and ought to be the default choice unless a speaker does not wish to (e.g. presenting unpublished results). I know from my experience of organising a seminar series during lockdown that many of our speakers welcomed the opportunity to invite guests and promote their talk more widely when given the option to share a link on Twitter.

During this year, Twitter has been a great resource for keeping up to date with online events. For nearly 6 months, @SuperScienceGrl kept an index of upcoming webinars in addition to an ongoing list of chemistry conferences. The Twitter account @AnywhereChem was set up in response to the glut of exciting talks online, in order to share them far and wide and make sure no one missed out. Many of us benefited from this increased publicity alerting us to relevant talks. It is not sustainable to rely on just a few individuals, however, to keep the entire community up to date. provides the opportunity for event organisers themselves to commit to posting their timetables in a central database, making it easier for others like @AnywhereChem to publicise further from there.

I am asking you to seriously consider adding any upcoming events you are organising to and give researchers around the world an opportunity to find out more about what is happening in your university, research group or organisation. If you are planning to attend an online event in the near future, please forward this email to the organiser and see if they will take part. And most importantly, check in to see if any events in your field are occurring soon. This is a great opportunity to open the doors of seminar halls around the world and to the benefit of all.

Please find attached a flyer highlighting the main points and advantages of this new platform. I encourage you to forward this further to your network and to get in touch if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Dr Joseph Byrne, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway

[See press release from MIT about the initial launch of ResearchSeminars in May 2020 here]