How to Assign Reviews in ConfTool

For the review process, the submitted contributions have to be assigned manually or automatically to users with the status reviewer or PC member. After the reviewing phase has been enabled, these users can access the contributions assigned to them, view the abstracts and download the manuscripts of these contributions.

This page describes how chairs can assign submissions to reviewers (and vice versa) in the ConfTool system. 

Assigning Reviewers to a Submission

Please log in as a user with the status ChairConference Chair or Administrator and go to:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews 
If you cannot find this option after login, please contact the conference organizers.

Here, you have the option to either list all contributions or list all reviewers by choosing the according links.
This section deals with assigning reviewers to submissions, please look further below if you want to assign submissions to specific reviewers.

Please go to the "List of Submissions":
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => List of Submissions

Here, you will find a list of all submitted contributions. Above the list are several filter options, a search field and a link to "Show more filter options". You can use all three to narrow the number of contributions down, e.g. to specific topics or tracks. This can be useful if several chairs share the work of assigning submissions to the reviewers.

In the second-to-last column "Reviewers / Reviews", click on the link "Reviewers" in order to get to the list of already assigned and available reviewers. The number tells you how many reviewers have already been assigned. When you click on the link "Reviews" (only available when reviews have already been entered), the reviews that have been entered for this submission will be displayed. The number shows how many reviews have already been submitted (see image 1).

For each list entry, in the right hand column "Actions", click on "Assign" to access a new page on which you can assign reviewers to this contribution. On the new page, all available reviewers for this contribution will be displayed. The list is ordered by the preferences of the reviewers (from the "bidding" phase, if used) and the number of matches between topics of the submission and areas of expertise of the reviewer. This data is displayed in the second column (see image 2).

Please select the required number of reviewers for the contribution by marking the checkbox "Assign" in the third column. (NB: If you assign a user to a contribution as meta-reviewer, this user will have access to all other reviews of the same submission.)

Select "Set Conflict" if you want to exclude a reviewer from participating in the online discussion forum about that specific contribution later on.

When you have assigned all reviewers, please go to the bottom of the page and click the "Save New Assignment" button to confirm your settings.

You can now verify and edit your assignments for this submission. Select the link "Submissions" in the main navigation bar to go back to the list of submissions and to continue assigning other submissions.

Image 1: List of submissions for assignment process - click on image to enlarge
Image 2: Assigning reviewers to a submission - click to enlarge

Assigning Submissions to a Reviewer

Alternatively you can use the list "Program Committee and Reviewers".

Please open it here:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Program Committee and Reviewers

This list will give you an overview of all available experts (PC members and reviewers). This page also lists the number of submissions already assigned to each person and the reviews already completed (see image 3). By selecting "Assign Reviews" in the right column you get the option to assign or cancel ("unassign") contributions or set a conflict for this person. This works according to the function "Assign Reviewers to a Submission " as described above.

(NB: Experts are identified by the conference chairs in the back-end of ConfTool.)

Image 3: Assigning submissions to a reviewer - click to enlarge

Automatic Assignments of Reviews

ConfTool Pro also allows to assign submissions to reviewers automatically. Please note that this is only available to administrators and conference chairs, not to track chairs.

Please go to (see image 4):
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Automatic Assignment of Reviews

This function considers the "bids" of the reviewers, the number of matching topics between submission and reviewer as well as the number of already assigned reviews per person during the assignment process. The algorithm is explained in this entry in the forum: Automatic review assignments.

In addition to that, the system tries to identify and to consider “conflicts of interest”. During the process, ConfTool Pro compares e-mail addresses, names and organizations of the reviewers to those of the authors and co-authors. This is one of the many reasons why authors should be asked to list the e-mail addresses of their co-authors.

Although the automatic assignments of reviews normally yield good results, we advise to check, and – where required – to optimize, the final result via manual assignment.

Image 4: Initiate automatic assignment process - click to enlarge

Unassigning Reviews

You can manually unassign reviews when you think that the automatic review process needs to be refined or when reviewers have retracted their willingness to do reviews. This can be done on the same pages on which papers are assigned to reviewers or reviewers to papers. Please refer to the instructions above.

In both cases, tick the box “Unassign” to cancel the review assignment. If a review has been handed in already, tick the box "Unassign & Delete Review"; in this case, the review assignment will be cancelled and the review will be deleted (see image 5). You can find more information here: How can I delete reviews?

Image 5: Unassign Reviews - click to enlarge

Activating the Review Phase

After assignment, the review phase has to be enabled:
Overview => Settings => Conference Phases and Deadlines
... in order to make the submissions accessible to the reviewers.

Contact the Reviewers

To inform the reviewers about the start of the review process, their next steps and the review deadlines, please use the bulk mail functions of ConfTool. Please note that instructions for reviewers and PC members are available, too.

Hints

  • It is always a good idea when submitting authors state the e-mail addresses of all co-authors.
  • Define topics and then let authors and reviewers choose the most appropriate topics. This makes the assignment of submissions to reviewers a lot easier.
  • Even though the time to prepare a conference is always very short, we recommend offering the „Bidding Phase“ (ConfTool Pro) for at least a few days. This puts the reviewers in a position to name submissions of interest for them and to fix conflicts of interest in advance. The bottom line is that this will also lighten your tasks!
  • If possible, please assign the submissions to at least 3 reviewers. It happens regularly that some reviewers do not meet their agreements and do not submit their reviews. In that situation, if originally you have only assigned 2 reviewers per submission, you may face the problem that some of the submissions end up with only one or no submitted review.