Topic: Sending an invitation e-mail to reviewers who are already users of ConfTool Pro  (Read 15238 times)

The reviewers/pc members from last year were copied to the new installation of ConfTool Pro.
Now we would like to send them an invitation to find out if they are willing to be reviewers for the coming event again.
How do we proceed?

We imported a list of reviewers to the user database of ConfTool Pro.
Can we still send an invitation to the people on this list and ask them to be reviewers for our event?

(A German version of this article is available.)

For starters, we would suggest that you use the invitation function of ConfTool Pro to invite Reviewers or PC Members.

First of all, the invitation function uses a distinct list, which is separate from the list of users, which enables you to keep track of invitations easily. Furthermore, you can use the invitation function to send a bulk e-mail with invitation links, allowing people on the list to accept or reject the invitation. If the person accepts the invitation, he/she can create a user account with a pre-populated form and the new user will obtain the user status set in the invitation automatically.

The advantage of this approach is that only reviewers/pc members who accept the invitation will get a user account, while people who decline the invitation won't.

The function is described in detail in this documentation:
Using the Invitation Function of ConfTool Pro

If you want to use the invitation function and need help with the import function or have questions on how to delete previously imported users, get back to us please.

There is an alternative approach if you think that most reviewers are willing to participate as reviewers again, and you just need a straightforward solution to receive their confirmations.

You can enable a simple invitation function for users, too.
Please go to:
Overview => Settings => Settings for User Registration => Main Settings for User Registration and Management
... and enable the expert settings by clicking on "Expert Settings Disabled" or the cogwheel icon on the bottom of the page, first.
Then activate the function "Simple Invitations to Reviewers with User Accounts" (see Image 1).

Now go to:
Overview => Bulk E-Mails => Send E-Mails to a Group of Users
... and create an invitation e-mail.

Please use the two following codes in the mail:
{reviewer_accept_link} this will include a link for reviewers and PC members to accept the invitation
{reviewer_reject_link} this will include a link for reviewers and PC members to refuse the invitation

You can find more information on how to send bulk e-mails here:
Sending Bulk E-Mails with ConfTool

Sample text if the user accounts were copied from the ConfTool installation of the preceding event:
Code: [Select]

We invite you to be reviewer for our conference XXX.

The reviewing phase will take place from xx.xx to xx.xx.20xx.
Each reviewer will be asked to review between x and x submissions.

To accept the invitation, please click on the following link:
Your user name is: {person_username}
Please use the "Forgotten Your Password" function to get a new password if you have forgotten your old password from last year.

To reject the invitation, please click on the following link:

Kind regards,
Your XXX organizers
When you send the bulk e-mail, the status "Reviewer Invited" will be set automatically.

If a user clicks on one of the links, the corresponding status will be updated:
  • If the user had the status Reviewer or PC Member, a rejection will remove this status. Furthermore, the user status "Reviewer Rejected" will be set.
  • If the user had no reviewing status before, a click on the acceptance link will set the status "Reviewer". Also, the user status "Reviewer Accepted" will be set

You can find the status in the user details, on the "List of All Users" and on this list (see image 2):
Overview => User and Participant Management => Program Committee and Reviewers

Important: If users do not respond to this invitation (or do not receive the e-mail for any reason), they will keep the reviewer status. Therefore, it is advisable to remove the reviewer status manually from all reviewers who did not respond, before you assign papers to reviewers.
Furthermore, if you assign submissions to reviewers before you send the invitations, the system also will not remove the reviewer status automatically from these user accounts if a reviewer refuses to review submissions! You will have to re-assign the reviews manually first and can then remove the reviewer status.

Finally, you can also create invitations for users that already have a user account in ConfTool.

We have compiled three illustrative scenarios when this approach could be advisable:
- The user accounts were copied from a previous conference and now (some of) these users shall be invited to become reviewers.
- The organizers imported potential reviewers to the list of users earlier and now want to invite these users to become reviewers.
- Many users registered themselves in ConfTool to become reviewers, but you still need a confirmation from the users to identify the reviewers.

In all of these cases, we recommend that you also import the user ID so that the system can correlate the users and invitees more easily. The correlation is primarily based on the e-mail address, but adding the user ID during import will yield better results (see image 3).

Later on, the invitations will show the ID of the associated user account and any actions taken with regard the invitation will be shown and registered for that user account (see image 4).

Here is a short summary of the differences of the two invitation functions.
This is relevant if your previous reviewers already have user accounts (e.g. their accounts were copied):

1. We recommend to use the regular invitation function if you think that the pool or reviewers may change significantly, you want to add more new people to your invitation list or many of the past reviewers probably won't reply if they don't want to be reviewers again.
    a) Please export all current reviewers and import them to the invitation list.
    b) Contact us and we remove their reviewer status from all users.
    c) You send out the invitation mail. 
   => Then only reviewers who have accepted the invitation will get the status reviewer for next year.
2. The alternative invitation function is advisable, if you think most reviewers will be willing to review again next year:
     This function uses the user accounts to send out the invitations.
     a) If they reject the invitation, their reviewer status will be removed.  
     b) But if they do not reply to the mail, they will keep the current status.  
     So, if required: You will have to contact us after the invitation deadlines has passed and we will remove the reviewer status from all users who haven't replied.