Topic: Guidelines for Track Chairs  (Read 775 times)

Please note that the following guidelines for Track Chairs are just a template for organizers, as the options and procedures depend on the conference and the settings of your ConfTool Pro installation. 

You are a track chair and in charge of the review process for one of the tracks (maybe also called stream, network or sub-event) of a conference. We have compiled a manual with guidelines that are intended to support you in assigning and processing the reviews of your track in ConfTool Pro, the conference management system that has been selected by the conference organizers.

1.   Updating the Reviewers of Your Track

Please log in to the ConfTool system. First, please check the contributions submitted to your track using the Quick Link “Submissions” (see image 1). Then examine who is already registered as a reviewer of your track. In many cases, the organizers have already assigned reviewers to your track. On the overview page you will find the box “As chair of the program committee, you have access to all contributions and reviews:” In the section “Manage Submissions and Reviews”, via Quick Links select “Program Committee” (see image 1). This will lead you to the list of all program committee members and reviewers.

On the page “Program Committee and Reviewers” you can select from a dropdown menu in order to gain an overview of all colleagues already registered as Reviewers or Program Committee Members (PC Members) of your track. If you select Reviewer you will see only the reviewers of your track. If you select Member of the Program Committee (PC Member) you will only have access to the list of PC Members. You can also filter by topics to further narrow down the number of persons displayed (see image 2).

If a colleague is missing or a wrong person is on the list, please inform the organizers. They can import and/or invite reviewers or may also give you the option to add more reviewers yourself. If you have the right to access the list of users, you can assign any user the reviewer status. If you have the option to create new users in the system, you can find the Quick Link “New User” and even create new user accounts for reviewers or PC members (see image 3). Before you create new user accounts, please make sure that the person does not already have a user account in the list of all users.

2.   Assigning Reviews

2.1   Assign Submissions to Reviewers
Please go to the list of Program Committee Members and Reviewers to assign reviews:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Program Committee and Reviewers
You may use any of the filter options to narrow down the number of persons displayed.
In the right hand column “Action” select “Assign Reviews” to start the assignment process (see image 4).

You will then see a list of all submissions of your track. You can assign contributions to the reviewer by selecting the checkboxes next to “Assign”. Save your assignments by selecting the button “Save New Assignment” (see image 5).

2.2   Assign Reviewers to Submissions

It also works the other way round, i.e. you can first choose a submission to which you would like to assign reviewers. In this case, please go to the list of submissions first:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => List of Submissions
In the right hand column “Actions” select “Assign” to start the assignment process (see image 6).

You will now see a list with all available reviewers of your track. You can assign a reviewer or several reviewers to each submission by checking the checkbox next to “Assign”. In case the reviewer is the author or co-author of a contribution, the system will automatically warn you about a conflict of interests. You can also manually set a conflict in case you think there is a clash of personal interests or professional duties (see image 7).

Please note
  • Reviewers will only be able to see the submissions you assigned to them.
  • There is also an automatic assignment function that can be enabled by the organizers.
    More information can be found at: “How to Assign Reviews in ConfTool

3.   Sending Bulk E-Mails to Reviewers

To notify reviewers about their assigned reviews (only if this is not done by the organizing committee for all tracks), please use the bulk mail function.

Please go to:
Overview => Bulk E-mails => Send E-Mails to Reviewers
Choose from any of the filters and in the field "Message" write the content of the e-mail with all the information required for the review process, including the deadlines (see image 8 ).
We recommend that you include the usernames of the reviewers in this e-mail.
Please note that you can only send them their passwords if they have not logged in yet, otherwise the passwords are already encrypted and they will see a hint text and a link to the "Lost Password?" page.

You can also use the bulk e-mail function to remind those reviewers who have not completed their reviews when the deadline approaches.

For more detailed information on how to use the bulk e-mail function please refer to:
Sending Bulk E-Mails with ConfTool

4.   Evaluation of the Review Results and Setting the Acceptance Status

As Track Chair you also have access to the review results of all submissions of your track.
To access the results, please go to:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Results of the Reviewing Procedure & Decision About Acceptance
In case organizers have given you the corresponding user rights, you can decide about acceptance of the submissions in your track.

In the list, next to the authors’ names and the titles of the submissions, you can find the following further information:
  • Points are the average of scores received by the different reviewers. The color indicates the score; it ranges from green (positive result) over yellow to red (negative result).
  • Reviews shows the number of reviews received vs. the total number of reviewers assigned. For example: 3 / 4 stands for "3 reviews received" of "4 reviewers assigned".
  • Span is the range between the lowest and the highest score given by the reviewers. If the span is high, the submission might have to be re-discussed by the reviewers or the program committee. In case it is activated, your program committee can use the "PC online forum" of ConfTool Pro for this task. Please use the "Special Filter" from the additional filter options to limit the display of submissions with a high span.
  • Acceptance Status shows the final decision of acceptance. It is “On Hold” first. Neither the status "On Hold" nor the review results will be shown to authors as long as this status is selected. Furthermore, authors can only upload a final version if a submission has been marked as accepted. Please select the status from the select box when a decision about a submission has been reached. Alternatively, you can also use the “Edit Status” link. The status and results of the reviewing process will not be displayed to authors until the corresponding phase has been activated by the organizers (see image 9).

5.   Assigning Presentations to Sessions

In case organizers have given you corresponding user rights, you can also assign presentations of your track to sessions. To assign presentations to sessions, please go to:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Results of the Reviewing Procedure & Decision About Acceptance
Use the drop-down lists in the right-hand column "Session" to assign a submissions to a session. The list shows only sessions assigned to your track. The number in square brackets behind the session name represents the number of submissions (presentations) already assigned to the particular session. Please note that your choice will be saved once you have picked a session from the drop-down list (see image 10).

6.   Define Session Chairs / Moderators

You can edit several characteristics of the   sessions assigned to your track on this page:
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Edit Session Parameters
Highlight a session and select “Edit Session”. You can now update the session title, define the session chairs / moderators, and edit further information on the session and the session abstract (see image 11).

7.   Edit the Session Details

You can optimize the schedule further before it is presented online, e.g. change the order of the presentations in one session. Please go to (see image 11):
Overview => Submissions & Reviews => Edit the Conference Schedule
Start by clicking on "Edit Sessions" in the menu. This will give you the option to "Edit Session Details" of all sessions. You can filter by choosing a certain date or the name of a session room.

To further edit the presentations within the sessions, first click on "Show Presentations" and then click on "Presentations" next to the arrow within each session (see image 12). The view will automatically scroll down to the corresponding session and three drop-down lists will appear next to the presentation(s). The first one will allow you to change the session assignment, the second one will enable you to modify the order of the presentations within each session, and you will be able to alter the acceptance status via the third drop-down list (see image 13).

In the editing menu bar, the option "Show Unassigned Presentations" ("Show Presentations" must be enabled) gives you an overview of the presentations which so far have not been assigned to any session. Check all entered data for each presentation by enabling "Show Abstracts" and "Show Metadata" (see image 14).