IUPAP strongly supports the following statement:
The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), composed of members representing identified physics communities in 60 different countries, has promoted the international collaboration of physicists since its creation almost 100 years ago. The IUPAP has taken actions to facilitate this collaboration on the understanding that diversity and inclusiveness are key for the advancement of physics and science for the benefit of humanity. To this end, the IUPAP has always worked to ensure that the interaction between scientists can proceed even when the relations between their countries are strained. Fostering the free circulation of physicists is one of the IUPAP’s primary goals, and unhindered contacts and communications is an important part of this ideal.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that have been enforced in various countries have changed the scientific landscape limiting the possibility of traveling and of having conferences or large gatherings of scientists. In 2020, many conferences were transformed into virtual activities. In this regard, having universal access to internet-based meeting platforms over which scientific conferences and meetings take place is critically important to ensure the advancement of the goals of the IUPAP. It has been noted that the access to certain internet-based meeting platforms is restricted in some countries due to different regulations. These restrictions not only affect international scientific collaborations but will increase inequalities that hinder the advancement of science across all communities.
In view of the above, the IUPAP calls the organizers of scientific meetings and conferences to take accessibility restrictions into consideration and either choose platforms with global worldwide access or include more than one way to participate in the activities they organize. Virtual conferences will very likely continue after the pandemic is over, particularly, as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of scientific activities. It is then very important that this aspect be considered now for a more effective and widespread sharing of scientific knowledge.