PSA2020/2021 FAQs

In response to questions we've been asked about PSA2020/2021, we've created a list of FAQs below. If there are any questions we've failed to address, please let us know at

Why aren't we taking PSA2020 online in November 2020?

There are a number of reasons for this. One is that, if we cancelled the meeting outright we'd be liable for a $90,000 hotel cancellation fee; however, the hotel was willing to waive their penalties if we rescheduled the meeting. We also learned that the scale of conference we run would require quite a complicated online platform as well as significant technical support; we don't have the expertise to do this well ourselves and the cost of professional virtual meeting services could as much as double the cost of cancellation.

In addition, the results of the survey we circulated in June indicated that, while a majority of the 572 respondents said they would be willing to present and/or attend a fully virtual meeting in November 2020, they also made it clear that they have a strong preference to attend PSA meetings in person if at all possible.

Taken together, the cost of pivoting to a fully online meeting in November 2020 and the feedback we got from survey respondents convinced the PSA Governing Board to postpone the in-person meeting for a year, but experiment with online sessions in the interim.

Why are we postponing PSA2020 for a year rather than rescheduling for Spring/Summer 2021?

The conference hotel did not have availability for a conference of our size until the Fall 2021. Also, survey respondents indicated that they were more likely to attend a meeting in Fall 2021 than in Spring/Summer 2021; their calendars were already filling up with meetings that regularly meet in the early Spring and Summer, and with planned research and family travel.

What if COVID restrictions make an in-person meeting in November 2021 impossible?

The Meeting Planning Committee is developing contingency plans for pivoting to a fully online format should that become necessary.

Contributed papers: How much flexibility do presenters have to revise their submitted papers in what they present?

In the past, presenters have been expected to give essentially the same papers that were accepted by the Program Committee. In the case of PSA2020, now postponed to November 2021, authors can expect greater latitude in updating papers for presentation. If you want to give a presentation at the biennial conference that diverges significantly from the paper that was accepted, you must first get the approval of the Program Chair. Please email with a description of your plans.

Symposia: Can symposium organizers reconfigure their (accepted) proposal if original presenters cannot participate in November 2021?

If it's necessary to replace presenters or otherwise make substantive changes to the plans for an accepted symposium, the symposium organizer must first get the approval of the Program Chair. Please email with a description of your plans.

Can contributed papers that were not accepted for the Proceedings be submitted for publication elsewhere?

Yes! Authors of contributed papers that were not accepted for publication in the Proceedings are always welcome to submit their papers for publication elsewhere once they have received that verdict.

What will the timeline of submission to the Proceedings be, given the postponed conference?

Publication decisions regarding contributed papers have already been made; final versions of accepted or conditionally accepted papers must be submitted by January 15, 2021. Authors will be given more specific submission instructions at a later date. Symposia papers must be submitted for consideration for the Proceedings volume by October 15, 2021, about a month before the conference.

Why aren't we shifting the publication schedule for the conference proceedings volumes to match the postponed meeting?

The submission deadlines for these issues of Philosophy of Science are fixed by our publishing contract. We have postponed the submission date for symposium papers as much as possible given that fixed publication schedule.

Awards and Prizes: When will these be announced and presented?

Most of the prizes and awards that are being adjudicated for PSA2020 – including the student and early career essay awards (the Hesse and Nagel Awards) – will be announced in November 2020. The Hempel Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement will be announced at the November 2021 Awards Ceremony when all the award winners will be honored in person. Read more about PSA awards here.

Will travel grants for early career, sponsored scholars, and UPSS delegates be available for the November 2021 meeting as in the past?

Yes. Applications for these grants will be announced in Summer 2021.

Will the same childcare services be available in November 2021 as were planned for the original meeting?

Our current plan is to provide the same services as in the past, but we have not yet finalized these arrangements. Stay tuned!

Will Dependent Care Subsidies still be offered for the 2020 meeting?

Yes. PSA will continue to provide up to $200 to support PSA members who need help covering additional dependent care expenses incurred (at home or at the conference) while attending the biennial meetings. Applications for this will announced in Summer 2021.

Will interest lunches and receptions be sponsored as in the past?

We certainly hope to host these in November 2021 in the same format as at past conferences, but we will be watching medical directives closely and will announce any changes in plan well in advance.