These are the featured sessions of the Annual Meeting, with the topics either of current general interest or specially relevant to the region. Most, if not all, of the papers are by invitation, and the content of the symposium is often ‘programmed’ to ensure coverage of the particular subject matter. Publication of symposia proceedings is encouraged, subject to the usual constraints of peer review and approval by the editor. The association sponsoring the symposia should be allowed to publish the proceedings of the symposium, if they so desire, and should at least be given right of first refusal. For examples, many GAC Special Papers, and issues of Canadian Mineralogist have had their origins in GAC/MAC symposium.
Each symposium has an organizer who is responsible for planning the session, inviting the speakers, refereeing the abstracts, setting the schedule of speakers and, if applicable, obtaining funding from the sponsoring body. Obviously, the symposium organizer must work hand in hand with the LOC Technical Program Chair and keep the latter informed of progress. Symposia are frequently sponsored by one of the parent societies (GAC or MAC), by an affiliated body (e.g. GAC division), or possibly even jointly by one of the parent bodies and a third party (e.g. CNC-IAH this year). Sponsorship normally implies some form of support for the symposium such as a commitment to publish the proceedings or possibly a contribution toward the expenses of invited speakers.
Where the sponsor is providing funding for speakers’ expenses, this has normally been handled outside the financial structure of the meeting
Special Sessions are normally subject or discipline oriented and last up to 2 days. They differ from symposia in having few if any invited papers. However, just like symposia, the special sessions are proposed by individuals or groups, and it is the responsibility of these people to advertise the specific sessions, plan the scheduling of talks, and obtain sponsorship if possible. Publication may or may not follow, and right of first refusal should be given to the sponsoring associations.