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1st Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum - Dialog with Learned Societies: Sustainable Solutions for Successful Transition to Open Access

Part of the Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum series
9 Sep 2019, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Publishing, Open Access, Sustainability
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12 September 2019: All presentation videos are available online via the links listed in the detailed program here.

08 November 2019: The next Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum (BSPF) will be announced soon!

Thanks to the chairs, speakers, moderators and participants of the First Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum

Basel, 12 September 2019

Dear Colleagues,
The First Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum took place at the Center for Teaching and Research (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung) of the University Hospital of the University of Basel. The conversation has been extremely open and interesting.
The organizing committee thanks very much the chairs, the speakers, the moderators and the participants for their active participation in this conversation. We hope that these discussions have been helpful and sufficiently informative for Learned Societies.
All sessions have been recorded and are now made available through direct links inserted in the detailed program. We hope these will be useful to those who could not participate but are interested in transitioning their journals to the open access model.
We look forward for your participation in the Second Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum, which will take place in June 2020!
Best wishes,
Franck Vazquez

Welcome from the Chairs

-Monday 9 September 2019

-ZLF (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung), Kleiner Hörsaal (smaller auditorium), Hebelstrasse 20, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

Welcome Message

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by an international consortium of research funders, named cOAlition S. Plan S requires that, as of 2021, all scientific publications resulting from public funding is published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. While the principles and implementation guidelines have been clearly stated and updated recently, many concerns were raised, especially concerning the stability of the evaluation system and the stability of the research ecosystem.

At the center of these concerns are learned societies which often strongly rely on publishing revenues to ensure the viability of all the activities done for their scientific communities. This dialog day aims to bring together representatives of learned societies to hear from them and understand the challenges that they are facing to transition/flip their journals to Open Access.

Four keynote presentations will take place:
Johan Rooryck, the Open Access Champion for cOAlition S,will present the details of Plan S, guidelines and timeline for implementation.
Alicia Wise will present potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can transition to an open access landscape and adapt to Plan S. These recommendations arise from the consultancy done by Information Power, and commissioned by Wellcome, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).
Jan Erik Frantsvåg will present a detailed overview and perspective on the current status of the open access landscape.
Saskia de Vries will present the principles of fair open access, in the context of Plan S and their relevance to societies.

We will also hold open discussions - under the principles outlined in our code of conduct - with a broad range of stakeholders, including funders, policy-makers, learned societies, publishers and publishing platforms.
This will be a unique opportunity to work together towards identifying sustainable and scalable solutions for successful open access transition.

The University of Basel and the MDPI Sustainability Foundation look forward to welcoming you in Basel!

Conference Chairs

Social Research and Methodology Group (SRaM), University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland - Website

Max Bergman holds the Chair of Social Research and Methodology at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel. He is a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss UNESCO National Commission, the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. He has studied at the Universities of California (BA), Geneva (MA), and Cambridge (PhD). Since 2014, he chairs the Basel Sustainability Forum and the World Sustainability Forum. Previous academic affiliations include the Universities of Cambridge, Florence (European University Institute), Geneva, Loyola Chicago, Notre Dame, Oxford, Stellenbosch, St. Gall, Texas A&M, the Witwatersrand, and Zurich.

Department of Chemistry, Former Vice-Rector for Research, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland - Website

In 1974 Constable began studying chemistry at St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford, where he earned his BA in chemistry in 1978. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, where he became University Lecturer and Fellow of Robinson College in 1984. He remained at Cambridge until 1993, when he became full professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Basel. In 2007 he became Dean of Research at the Faculty of Philosophy and Natural Sciences and in 2011 Vice Rector for Research and Promotion of Young Scientists. Constable is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a member of the American Chemical Society. He is a member of the editorial board of numerous journals including Chemical Communications, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, Coordination Chemistry Reviews, New Journal of Chemistry, Polyhedron and Supramolecular Chemistry.


Ms. Silke Bellanger

University Library, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland - Website

Silke Bellanger is an academic librarian and head of research support services at the University Library of Basel. She is working in research and university libraries since 2006, focusing on open access, research data and information literacy. She holds a M.A. in Sociology, History and Public Law and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information and Library Sciences.

Dr. Adeline Rege

Service des Bibliothèques, Université de Strasbourg, France - Website

Adeline Rege is Head of Scholarly Communication and Electronic Resources at University of Strasbourg Library Services (France) since 2014. She is also a member of the Information and Open Access Policy Group at League of European Research Universities (LERU) and a member of the expert's group on Scientific Information (P5 Program) at Swiss universities. She also serves on the Executive Board of, the French national higher education and research libraries consortium. Prior to joining the University of Strasbourg, Adeline Rege was a librarian at Caen Public Library in Normandy. She holds a PhD in Early Modern History from University Paris-Sorbonne and a degree in Information and Library Sciences from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l'Information et des Bibliothèques (Lyon, France).

Welcome Address

Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel, Former Rector of the University of Basel, President of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, President of the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, ALLEA (All European Academies) - Website

Antonio Loprieno was born in Italy in 1955 and grew up in Brussels. He studied Egyptology, linguistics and Semitology in Turin. This “linguistically socialised Egyptologist” acquired his extensive knowledge and experience through postdocs in Chicago and Göttingen, an associate professorship in Perugia, then professorships at the University of California in Los Angeles and in Basel, where he was appointed in 2000 and where he was also made Professor for the History of Institutions in 2015. From 2006 to 2015, he also served as Rector of the University of Basel and from 2008 to 2015 was the President of the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities. He has been chosen by the delegates of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences to be their new President and assumed his office on 1 May 2018.

Advisory Program Committee

Prof. Dr. Johan E.C.V. Rooryck

Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands - Website

Johan Rooryck, born in Leuven, Belgium, in 1961, is a professor of French linguistics at Leiden University. His main research interests lie in the interaction between morphology, syntax, and semantics; and the relation between language and core knowledge systems. He was the Executive Editor of Lingua from 1999 to 2015. Lingua was ranked 7th in Google Scholar’s h5-Index Top Publications – Humanities, Literature & Arts, and 3rd in the subsection Language & Linguistics in October 2015, when its 6 editors and the 31-member editorial board resigned after Elsevier rejected the editors’ request to publish Lingua under conditions of Fair Open Access. The editorial team and board then went on to found the Fair Open Access journal Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, published by Ubiquity Press with financial support for Author Processing Charges from LingOA and the Open Library of the Humanities (OLH). Johan is now the Editor in Chief of Glossa and is active in promoting Fair Open Access. He has recently been appointed the Open Access Champion for cOAlition S and he will be the first Keynote speaker of the conference.

Drs. Saskia C. J. de Vries

Sampan - academia and publishing, Leiden, The Netherlands - Website

Saskia de Vries soon joined HES Publishers in Utrecht as a jack of all trades. In 1985, she switched to Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. In the 20 years that she ran Amsterdam University Press as its first director. It grew into an international, academic publisher with 20 employees in 2012 who were responsible for the approximately 200 books and 9 academic journals that they published a year. Amsterdam University Press was coordinator of the EU project Open Access Publishing in European Networks and grew into one of the most innovative university presses in the world, that gives high priority to Open Access publishing. In 2006 she was co-founder and first director of Leiden University Press, which functions as part of the University of Leyden since 2009. Saskia started her own business in 2012, Sampan – academia & publishing, where she works on various projects. She will be the second Keynote speaker of the afternoon session.

Keynote Speakers

Information Power, Winchester, United Kingdom - Website

Alicia Wise is an effective and experienced game changer working at the intersection of copyright, digital technologies, policy, and people. Alicia is known for her work as a communicator, influencer, and relationship builder and as someone who can drive organisational development and transformational change. With both an open and candid personality and tenacity and determination, she is driven to do what is right and get things done through collaboration and partnership. She has more than 30 years’ experience in the academic information space including roles with libraries, publishers, and researchers. Most recently she was with Elsevier where she led on Open Access and global strategic relations. Prior to this she held roles with the Publishers Association, Publishers Licensing Society, Jisc, Archaeology Data Service, and in universities. She has served on the boards of Access to Research, Accessible Books Consortium, CHORUS, CLOCKSS, Digital Preservation Coalition, and Research4Life.

UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway - Website

Jan Erik started his education with a degree in economics, computing and banking, and worked for many years in various positions in banks, before he went to UiT The Arctic University of Norway in 1993. He was acting head of the budget section of the finance department and assisting finance director for some years in the late 1990s, also acting as finance director for a short period. He then worked in the IT department of the administration before he went to the faculty of humanities for a period as assistant faculty director. After that he was project manager for a procurement and invoice processing system for a couple of years. During his work in the finance department he wrote a report on the publishing activities of the university and concluded, in 1996, that the university should make its scholarly content freely available on the internet. In 2006, he joined the University Library to work with Open Access on a full-time basis. Initially he worked on the institutional repository. He later led the national co-operation that was saddled with the national responsibility for OA, until it was taken over by a new government agency in 2011. He later also worked on the library’s publishing service Septentrio Academic Publishing. He is a board member of SPARC Europe (chair until recently) and a member of the DOAJ advisory board. He has published scholarly articles on OA-related subjects, and he occasionally engages writes and presents in various OA debates. He is also part of the program committee for the annual Munin Conference on Scholarly publishing, organized by his University Library.

Invited Speakers

Swiss Chemical Society, Bern, Switzerland - Website

David Spichiger studied chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Bern from 1996 to 2000 and earned his BA and MA in Chemistry. After that he also received his Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) in Integrated Management from University of Applied Sciences Bern and University of Fribourg. From 2001 until 2011 he worked in different functions in Corporate Clients’ unit at the HR and Business School of Credit Suisse. Since 2011 he is Executive Director and Member of the Board of the Swiss Chemical Society which is based in Bern, Switzerland. Since 2011 he has also proceeded different functions as member of the board of the SCS Foundation. His perception regarding OA is: "OA offers fantastic opportunities but there is also a latent risk that misleading incentives subvert the quality of scientific publishing. Especially the transition phase is a real challenge.“

Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland - Website

Anke Berger holds a Diploma in Biology and a doctorate in Plant Ecology. She is the managing editor of the International Journal of Public Health (IJPH), based at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. She also researches and lectures at the Department of Health Professions at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Anke acquired interest in open access when she investigated options for a sustainable business model for IJPH. Currently she is working with the IJPH editors to move the journal to gold open access. She likes to look at open access from any possible angle, while in her talk, she will focus on the needs and perspectives of a public health journal with intermediate impact and its owner, the Swiss School of Public Health.

Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Tuebingen, Germany - Website

Kai Sassenberg studied psychology at the University of Mannheim and earned his doctorate at the University of Göttingen with a thesis on the effect of anonymity on social influence in computer-mediated communication. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Jena and Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA, USA), he became head of the junior research group "Motivational and cognitive determinants of social discrimination" at the University of Jena. He then worked as Associate Professor of Organizational Psychology at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Since 2007, Kai Sassenberg has been head of the IWM's "Arbeitsgruppe Soziale Prozesse" and W3 professor at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. He is also president of the European Association of Social Psychology and chairman of the local ethics committee at the IWM.

European Physics Letter Association, Grenoble, France - Website

Bart van Tiggelen received a master’s degree (1988) in astrophysics at Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. (1992) in theoretical physics at the University of Amsterdam. He is currently a research professor at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, and is based in Grenoble. His research interests are in wave propagation in random media, specifically optics and acoustics of disordered media, magneto-optics and Anderson localization, mesoscopic physics, and seismic wave propagation. Bart van Tiggelen has been a Co-Editor for several years of EPL and since January 2018, he is Editor–in–Chief.

F1000, London, United Kingdom - Website

Michael is the Publisher for F1000 Platforms. He is an open science, open data and open research advocate contributing to F1000’s effort to change the way science is communicated. He played a pivotal role in launching F1000Research in 2013, and now oversees Wellcome Open Research, a new publishing platform owned by Wellcome but run by F1000. Michael previously helped to develop and subsequently manage F1000Posters, the open-access repository of posters and slides in biology and medicine. Michael is an active member of the open science community and has given many talks/seminars/workshops on the subject at international conferences and research institutions. Michael previously studied Chemical Biology at the University of Leeds, where he worked on synthesising a range of potential anti-tumor compounds.

Copernicus GmbH, Göttingen, Germany - Website

Xenia van Edig, PhD in Agricultural Sciences, MSc in Geography, studied geography and focused on landscape ecology with a major interest in the tropics and subtropics. She took advantage of the diversity within her subject and was also engaged in learning about soil sciences, nature conservation, and socio-economics of rural development. She was involved in several university boards and participated in various scientific conferences. Xenia has published several research articles and is very well connected to several scientific communities. In addition to being employed at the University of Göttingen for several years, she worked as a scientific coordinator of an international project at the University of Kassel. Since the beginning of 2012, she has been the person to contact at Copernicus about new projects, either meetings or journals.

MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland - Website

Martyn graduated in mathematics and physics from the University of Warwick in 2004, before completing an MSc and PhD under Warwick’s interdisciplinary MOAC program. His final project focused on spectroscopy of DNA and modeling biopolymerization processes. He went on to a three-year postdoc at the University of Reading, using atomic force microscopy and small angle X-ray scattering to analyze nano-structured biomaterials. He followed this with a further postdoctoral position at the University of Freiburg, developing TIRF microscopy of protein complexes. Martyn joined MDPI in 2013 and is currently Publishing Director.

Frontiers, Lausanne, Switzerland - Website

Mirjam Curno completed a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Dundee in Scotland in 2006, and then moved to the University of Lausanne, Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow to work on viral immunity. From 2010 to 2014 she was the Managing Editor of the Journal of the International AIDS Society, where she also organised workshops on scientific writing supervised by the Conference Abstract Mentor Programme run by the society. Mirjam then joined Frontiers, an open access publisher based in Switzerland, as Journal Manager, was the Editorial Director from 2016 onwards, and is now the Publishing Director. She is a council member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Wiley, Oxford, United Kingdom - Website

Kathryn Sharples is Publishing Development Director at Wiley. During her 15+ year career at Wiley she has worked in a variety of editorial roles including leading a global publishing team in statistics & mathematics. Her current focus is on the development and implementation of strategies to enable subject portfolio development and the growth of Wiley’s Open Access journal portfolio. She’s passionate about transparency in the research and publishing process and recently worked to introduce data sharing policies across the Wiley journal portfolio.

Ubiquity Press, Berkeley (CA), USA - Website

Brian Hole is a researcher and publisher working within the humanities and information sciences, with a focus on ethics and inclusive systems. He is the CEO of Ubiquity Press, which he founded in 2012 out of frustration with the reluctance of the legacy publishers to provide fair and affordable open access. Ubiquity Press works on different ways to break down barriers to publishing, and has several interesting projects underway. Previous positions were with Elsevier and the British Library, and he holds a PhD in archaeology from University College London.

Conference Organizers

Dr. Franck Vazquez

MDPI AG, on behalf of the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, Basel, Switzerland - Website


Franck Vazquez received his Ph.D. in Life and Health Sciences in 2004 from the University of Lille. He completed two post-docs in Basel, at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and at the Botanical Institute of the University of Basel. From 2009 to 2013 Franck's research group was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. During his research career, Franck has published a total of 30 papers, which have been cited more than 4000 times. He joined MDPI in January 2014 and served as the Chief Scientific Officer from February 2015 to April 2016, and as the Chief Executive Officer from May 2016 to April 2019. Franck is also a member of the Board of Directors of OASPA since September 2017.


Detailed Program

Monday 9 September 2019, 08:30 - 12:45 / 14:15 - 17:30

The conference language is English.

08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:05

Welcome by the Organizer

Watch the video

Dr. Franck Vazquez
MDPI AG, on behalf of the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, Basel, Switzerland

09:05 – 09:15

Welcome Address

Watch the video

Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno
Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel

Session 1: Plan S and Its Challenges for Learned Societies

Session Chair: Prof. Dr. Max Bergman

09:15 – 10:00

Plan S and Implementation Guidelines

Watch the video

Prof. Dr. Johan E.C.V. Rooryck
The Open Access Champion for
cOAlition S
Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, Leiden,
The Netherlands

10:00 – 10:45

Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access via Transformative Agreements

Watch the video

Dr. Alicia Wise
Information Power, Winchester, United Kingdom

10:45 – 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 – 11:30

Presentation of the Swiss Chemical Society

Watch the video

David Spichiger
Swiss Chemical Society, Bern, Switzerland

11:30 – 11:45

The International Journal of Public Health (IJPH), the Journal of SSPH+

Download Slides

Dr. Anke Berger
Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland

11:45 – 12:00

Plan S and Open Access - Perspective of the European Association of Social Psychology

Watch the video

Prof. Dr. Kai Sassenberg
Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Tuebingen, Germany

12:00 – 12:15

Scientific Editing, Open Access and Assessment

Watch the video

Prof. Dr. Bart van Tiggelen
European Physics Letter Association, Grenoble, France

12:15 – 12:45

Panel Discussion – Moderator: Prof. Dr. Max Bergman

Watch the video

12:45 – 14:15

Lunch Break

Session 2: Open Access Models, Sustainability and Scalability

Session Chair: Prof. Dr. Edwin Charles Constable

14:15 – 15:00

Overview of the OA Landscape

Watch the video

Jan Erik Frantsvåg
UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

15:00 – 15:30

The Fair Open Access Alliance and Its Relation to Plan S

Watch the video

Saskia de Vries
Sampan - academia and publishing, Leiden,
The Netherlands

15:30 – 16:00

Coffee Break

16:00 – 16:10

The F1000 Model for Open Access

Watch the video

Michael Markie
F1000, London, United Kingdom

16:10 – 16:20

Win-Win Situation: How Geoscientists Generate Good Income for Societies While Providing Openness and Transparency to the Community

Watch the video

Dr. Xenia van Edig
Copernicus GmbH, Göttingen, Germany

16:20 – 16:30

MDPI's Collaboration with Societies

Watch the video

Dr. Martyn Rittman
MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland

16:30 – 16:40

Partnerships and Technology to Power the Transition to Open Access

Watch the video

Dr. Mirjam Curno
Frontiers, Lausanne, Switzerland

16:40 – 16:50

Driving towards Open

Watch the video

Kathryn Sharples
Wiley, Oxford, United Kingdom

16:50 – 17:00

Open Access with Open Infrastructure

Watch the video

Dr. Brian Hole
Ubiquity Press, Berkeley (CA), USA

17:00 – 17:30

Panel Discussion – Moderator: Dr. Adeline Rege

Watch the video

17:30 –


Program Booklet

You can download the booklet here.


The registration fee includes attendance of all sessions, morning/afternoon coffee breaks, lunch and a light apero.
Dinner is not included and is left at the convenience of attendees.

Invited Guests are free, but need to register. Places are limited, and we are unable to accommodate unregistered guests, once we reach the limit imposed by the conference venue.

For onsite registration, please contact the Conference Secretariat.

Academics and Learned Societies
Speakers and Guests
Others, incl. Commercial and Not-for-Profit Publishers
Cancellation policy

Participation to the conference is considered final only once the registration fees have been paid. The number of participants is limited, once the number of paid registrations reaches the maximum number of participants, unpaid registrations will be cancelled.

Cancellation of paid registration is possible under the terms listed below:
> 2 weeks before the conference Refund 50% of the applying fees
< 2 weeks before the conference No refund

In the unlikely event that MDPI shall deem it necessary to cancel the conference, all pre-paid registration fees will be reimbursed. MDPI shall not be liable for reimbursing the cost of travel or accommodation arrangements made by individual delegates.

Photographs and/or video will be taken during the conference
By taking part in this event you grant the event organisers full rights to use the images resulting from the photography/video filming, and any reproductions or adaptations of the images for fundraising, publicity or other purposes to help achieve the conference’s aims. This might include (but is not limited to), the right to use them in their printed and online publicity, social media, press releases and funding applications.

Payment methods

Wire transfer, Credit card


ZLF (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung)

The conference will be held at the ZLF (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung), University Hospital of Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

About the University of Basel

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching. Founded in 1460, the University of Basel is the oldest university in Switzerland and has a history of success going back over 550 years.

As a comprehensive university offering a wide range of high-quality educational opportunities, the University of Basel attracts students from Switzerland and the entire world, offering them outstanding studying conditions as they work towards their bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degrees. Today, the University of Basel has around 13,000 students from over a hundred nations, including 2,700 PhD students.

The University of Basel has seven faculties covering a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. At the same time, the university has positioned itself amidst the international competition in the form of five strategic focal areas: Life Sciences, Visual Studies, Nanosciences, Sustainability and Energy Research and European and Global Studies. In international rankings, the University of Basel has regularly placed among the 100 top universities in the world thanks to its research achievements.

The University of Basel has deep roots in the economically powerful and culturally rich Basel region. The university also works closely with domestic and international partners to make relevant contributions to the advancement of the sciences and society. This also means that the University of Basel pays particular attention to aspects of sustainability, equal opportunity and knowledge transfer.

WLAN Access

1. Be sure you are in the covered area.

2. Open your laptop and connect to the WLAN "USB_guest_WLAN".

3. Start the browser on your device.

4. You should be routed automatically to a welcome page.

5. R
egister with your mobile telephone number.

6. You will receive an access code via SMS free of charge.

7. Enter your access code on the welcome page.

8. Your WLAN registration is now complete
and you will be immediately online.

Conference Secretariat

Dr. Franck Vazquez

Matthias Burkhalter

Cédric Spinnler

Géraldine Leuenberger


Karen Gisler


Charlotte Gardini


Sara Vulovic


MDPI Sustainability Foundation
Basel Sustainable Publishing Forum
St. Alban-Anlage 66
4052 Basel, Switzerland


Phone: +41 61 683 77 34

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Sponsors and Partners


Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Sponsoring Opportunities

For questions regarding sponsoring opportunities, please contact the secretariat or

Conference Poster

Conference Flyer

You can download this flyer here.

Code of Conduct


This conference is part of a community-driven series of events. To enhance collaboration, creativity, innovation, and exchange of ideas, and maintain a welcoming, respectful, safe, professional and inspiring environment, this event is governed by a Code of Conduct (CoC) that all participants (i.e., attendees, speakers, chairpersons, moderators, employees, volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors) must adopt.


This CoC outlines our expectations for participants, both online (e.g., on social media) and at in-person events. We expect all participants:
-to actively engage in creating a friendly and safe environment for all,
-to express their views in the context of the rights of all other participants to hold and express different views,
-to be kind and considerate, and, to respect personal space and boundaries for personal interactions.
-to be mindful of other participants,
-to behave appropriately, and to refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, offensive or intimidating materials or behavior,
-to dress and behave professionally,
-to respect others’ properties, including private and communal property.
-to follow regulations and laws applicable at the venue.

Inappropriate behavior—harassment, aggression, and intimidation

Harassment, aggression, offensive language and intimidation are inappropriate and unacceptable. These behaviors can be related to, but not limited to: race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other appearance or physical characteristics.
Inappropriate behavior can take many forms such as offensive comments, verbal threats or demands, jokes, derogatory statements, intimidation, obscene language, offensive clothing, leering, stalking, staring, gestures, pictures, drawings, cartoons, violating personal space by impeding or blocking another person's movement or otherwise physically interfering with them, harassing photography or recordings, unwanted or offensive letters or poems, offensive email or voicemail messages, or social media postings.

Consequences of inappropriate behavior

Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. Participants asked to stop inappropriate behavior are expected to comply immediately. Non-complying participants may be expelled from the conference without a refund, and/or might be banned from future events in case of repeated or severe breaches of this CoC.

What to do about inappropriate behavior?

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate behavior or have any other concerns, please notify Dr. Franck Vazquez ( or Dr. Sara Martinez (
If you have questions regarding this Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us.
We look forward to an outstanding meeting!

Save the Date: The 8th World Sustainability Forum - 14.-19. September 2020 - Geneva, Switzerland

Save the Date

September 2020 marks the 5th birthday of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If it were a child and given the right circumstances, it would now have developed fine motor skills, be able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, have long conversations, and start to develop independence and responsibility. With the 8th World Sustainability Forum, we are not only celebrating a birthday, but are also taking stock of where we are in relation to a more sustainable world, what has worked, what has not yet worked, and where we need to go next.

Sustainability has gained considerable traction: Many countries have integrated sustainability and environmental protection as part of their national development agenda, many businesses have realized the considerable long-term potential in sustainable development, and many research agendas have aligned with sustainability goals. It is now time for the research, policy, and business communities to enter into enduring dialog and to embrace greater global responsibilities. With this event, we hope to contribute to building a platform and network for a sustainability agenda that fosters partnerships among stakeholders beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines, narrow national agendas, and quarterly spreadsheets. The quest is to conceive of ways to assure long-term sustainable development for our people, our planet, as well as societal and corporate profit.

In light of the importance of developing institutional partnerships and networks, this forum will be coordinated by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, the UN Global Compact, the Global Footprint Network, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The 8th World Sustainability Forum

WSF2020 is an international scientific conference coordinated by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, under the patronage of the University of Basel, the University of Geneva and  the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN).

The language of the conference is English.

The World Sustainability Award and the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award will be conferred at the gala dinner of the conference. The World Sustainability Award is endowed with USD 100'000; the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award with USD 10'000.

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