Examples for the Configuration of the Submission and Reviewing Functions

We provide three examples for the configuration of the submission and reviewing functions of ConfTool Pro:

1) First Example: Medium-Sized Natural Sciences Conference.
2) Second Example: Medical Symposium.
3) Third Example: Multi-Conference with Two-Phase Review Process

First Example: Medium-Sized Natural Sciences Conference 

In the first example, the organizers expect about 200 full paper submissions, of which around 60 will be accepted and presented at the conference (oral presentations). The conference will be held on two days with a total of 5 session slots and each session slot having 4 simultaneous sessions, with about three presentations per session. There will be about 100 further poster presentations, which will be held in two poster sessions in the afternoon starting with the coffee break. All presented full papers will be made available in the conference proceedings. All submissions will be categorized by topics.

This being the goal of the conference, let us take a look at the setup of the reviewing process. The full papers will be peer reviewed by around 80 reviewers. Reviewers first select their priority topics and bid for submissions (optional), then the organizers assign reviewers to submissions. During the peer-review phase the reviewers enter their evaluations into the online review form. 

The program committee members discuss these review results in an online forum and give further recommendations via this tool to the conference chair. The conference chair makes the final decision about acceptance based on the review results and the recommendations from the discussions in the online forum. Authors of fully accepted papers will be able to upload a final, camera-ready copy which will be printed in the proceedings. Full papers can be recommended to be re-submitted as posters.

The submission type "Poster" has a slightly different set-up. The deadlines for submission extend beyond the reviewing phase of the full papers, as authors of full papers, whose submissions did not get accepted as papers, shall still be able to re-submit a poster proposal. Furthermore, there is no peer-review process for posters, the chairs of the conference decide directly about acceptance (see image 1). 

Outline Data

Topics: About two dozen topics that allow authors to classify their papers and reviewers to choose their areas of expertise (see image 4).

Submission types / tracks: Define two different submission types: "Full Paper" and "Poster"; no special tracks (see image 2). 

  • Settings for "Full Papers" (see image 3): One anonymized PDF file for the first upload and review process (see image 5). Final Version: PDF and source file (.doc, .docx or .tex) for camera-ready upload (see image 6), enable peer-review, bidding for contributions and the online forum.
  • Setting for "Poster": one upload only, PDF; disable peer-review, bidding for contributions and the online forum. 

Posters have a later deadline than “Full Papers” to allow authors with rejected papers to submit their work as poster proposal.

Phases: Submission of abstract and upload of first version of full paper or poster, review process by reviewers appointed by the committee, final decision by committee based on reviews, decision about acceptance and results of reviews are made available to the authors, authors of accepted contributions upload their final, camera-ready copies (see image 6), authors of contributions which were accepted as posters do not have to upload any further documents.

Committee: The program committee consists of one Conference Chair who decides about acceptance, 10 more PC members who help with the review process and discuss with the chair about acceptance in the PC meeting and 40 reviewers for the peer-review process.

Acceptance Status: Rejected, Accepted as Paper, Accepted as Poster.

Second Example: Medical Symposium

In the second example, the organizers plan a medical symposium. As these tend to be more educattional in nature and the focus is on the poster sessions, oral presentations, subsequent discussions of the new findings and the research done, the ensuing setup of the conference will follow an approach that fits the needs of medical conference organizers.

For this symposium, held in the course of two days, about 60 submissions for oral presentations and around 30 poster presentations are expected and the number of participants is envisaged to be around 300. There will be industry sessions in the morning and oral presentations in the afternoon of the first day, the second day will consist of more oral presentations, interspersed with a poster session slot.

The sessions are organized into six different submission types / tracks: four tracks with oral presentations "Education", "Patient Empowerment", "Basic Research", "Therapy Planning", a special industry session track "Industrial Presentations" and one poster track "Poster Presentations". All chair members are in charge of the supervision of the submission process. The submission types / tracks are not further divided into topics.

The submissions are made in one step only in which the authors enter the anonymized abstract of their idea. The submissions will be presented either in oral sessions or in poster sessions, depending on the submission type / track chosen by the author.

The program committee is made up of several chair members with equal rights. The submissions are not peer-reviewed - the ideas are rated by the chairs immediately without reviews and the results are made available to the authors. There will be no camera-ready copies for the oral sessions, as the abstracts will directly be printed in the proceedings. Posters in A0 format will have to be uploaded for reference purposes for the poster track but will not be printed in the proceedings.

Outline Data

Topics: Not required - included in the submission type / track specifications.

Submission type / track: Four oral presentation tracks "Education", "Patient Empowerment", "Basic Research", "Therapy Planning", a special "Industry Track" and one poster track "Poster Presentations".

  • Settings for oral presentation tracks and industry track: Abstract only, max. 800 words, no uploads, no topics, no keywords. Disable "Bid for Contributions", "Enter and Edit Reviews" and "Online Forum for the Program Committee".
  • Settings for poster track: Abstract only, max. 600 words, final camera-ready upload: one file, PDF, no topics, no keywords. Disable "Bid for Contributions", "Enter and Edit Reviews" and "Online Forum for the Program Committee".

Phases: Submission of abstracts, no reviewing phase as decision about acceptance is made immediately by chairs, results are made available to the authors; poster track: upload of camera-ready copies of posters.

Committee: One committee for all six submission types / tracks consisting of several chair members with equal rights. They decide directly about acceptance as oral or poster.

Acceptance Status: Rejected, Oral Presentation Accepted, Poster Presentation Accepted

If you plan your conference with more submissions in many different submission types / tracks, it might be beneficial to install the track-chair module of ConfTool Pro and create track-chairs who only have access to the submissions of their own track and thus are only responsible for the shortened review process and setting the acceptance status for their own track. In this way, you can divide the committee into several sub-committees.

Third Example: Multi-Conference with Two-Phase Review Process

Our third example is a bit more complex and demonstrates some of the advanced options of ConfTool Pro. The event is a bilingual conference in the field of physics: It lasts for four days and has about 120 oral paper presentations in two parallel tracks (sub-conferences). The conference is divided into several morning and afternoon sessions of 90 min each. Most sessions will be in English, but some sessions will be held in Spanish, therefore authors have to indicate the language of their submission and presentation. This allows to select appropriate reviewers and to assign the papers during scheduling to sessions in the correct language. The two tracks (sub-conferences) have different chairs who supervise the peer-review process of their area separately, therefore the track-chair-module is required (please note: an extra charge applies for this module).

Furthermore, this conference has a special review procedure: The submissions are reviewed in two separate stages, i.e., a two-phase review process is required.

First, authors submit their abstracts, specifying the language and several topics from two areas: "Thermodynamics" or "Liquid Cooling". About 250-300 abstracts are expected to be submitted in this first round. The abstracts are reviewed by all conference chairs and both track chairs and they decide directly about abstract acceptance, mainly considering the thematic appropriateness. They can also make use of the online forum to discuss debatable abstracts.

About 230-250 abstracts are accepted and placed by the chairs into one of two tracks based on the topic selection of the authors. First, the chairs assign one of the two acceptance statuses "Abstract Accepted for Thermodynamics" or "Abstract Accepted for Liquid Cooling" to identify that a submission will later be copied to the respective tracks for full paper submission.

After this process, the abstracts will be converted to full papers and copied to the respective tracks based on the status, allowing only authors of accepted abstracts to submit a full paper in the correct track. (You will need our support for the copying process, please see below in section "Phases").

For the second review phase, authors can upload their full papers as anonymized PDF files that will be evaluated in a double-blind peer review process.

The peer review process is initiated and supervised by two track chairs, one for each track. They propose several dozens of reviewers each. The main chairs invite the reviewers using the invitation function of ConfTool Pro. If a reviewer accepts the invitation she/he creates a user account and selects the preferred tracks, topics and languages. This facilitates the assignment of reviewers to full papers matching their area of expertise (see: "Invitations").

After the full paper submission deadline, the two track chairs assign three reviewers to each received paper of their respective track separately (see: "Assigning Reviews").

Following the peer review process, the track chairs give recommendations for acceptance based on the review results. The main conference chair makes the final decisions based on the peer reviews, the track chairs' recommendations and an optional discussion with the track chairs in the online forum.

Finally, authors of accepted full paper submissions are asked to upload camera-ready copies for the proceedings as PDF and Microsoft Word files.

Authors of accepted full papers also have to register for conference participation before a given deadline. Only papers for which at least one presenter has registered for participation will be considered in the final conference program. Organizers define and set an extra status "Accepted and Paid" for the corresponding contributions (see image 1 for project outline).

Configuration Hints

The following configuration options are advisable for the described scenario:

Topic Groups: The topic group feature has to be enabled in the expert settings of the "Paper and Abstract Submission module". Two topics groups are required: One is called "Language" and the other "Area and Topic".

Topics: First, two entries "English" and "Spanish" have to be created and assigned to the "Language" topic group. Second, several topics in two areas, separated by two headlines "Thermodynamics" and "Liquid Cooling" have to be created and assigned to the second group "Area and Topic". All entries will be used to assign abstracts to the correct track and to find the most appropriate reviewers for each submission. All topics are assigned to the abstract track (see image 2), but the topics referring to "Thermodynamics" and "Liquid Cooling" are only assigned to each corresponding full paper track (see image 3 - kindly also be referred to the "Track-Chair-Module").

Submission type / track:
First review phase: One track for the online submission of abstracts, called "Abstracts".

  • Recommended settings for the track "Abstracts": Enable abstract field, max. 400 words, enable topic groups, no keywords, no uploads. Disable "Bid for Contributions" and "Enter and Edit Reviews", but enable the "Online Forum for the Program Committee".

Second review phase: The accepted abstracts are assigned to two different full paper tracks: "Thermodynamics" and "Liquid Cooling". Authors of accepted abstracts upload anonymized PDF files for these two tracks."

  • Recommended settings for both full paper tracks: Enable abstract field, max. 400 words, enable topic groups, no keywords, enable uploads with one file in PDF format. For the final version (camera-ready copy) enable two uploads for PDF and Word ("DOC, DOCX") files.
    Furthermore, enable "Bid for Contributions", "Enter and Edit Reviews" as well as the "Online Forum for the Program Committee". Disable these two tracks during abstract submission and re-enable them later for full paper submission / upload.
    Please note: The creation of the full paper track is easier if you copy the abstract track for the first full paper track and after modification of the first full paper track use it as basis for the second full paper track.

First submission and review phase for "Abstracts": Submission of abstracts in the Web online form only (no file uploads) for the single available track "Abstracts", review process and decision about acceptance by conference chairs, categorizing of abstracts into tracks, final decision made available to authors.

  • For the transition from the first to the second review phase of this two-phase review process, usually support is required from the ConfTool staff: Please contact us after abstract acceptance, and we will help you to convert the accepted abstracts to the two new tracks. Kindly also be referred to this information in the forum: "Two-phase review process: How to review abstracts and full papers?"

Second submission and review phase: Authors of accepted papers are invited to upload full papers in PDF format (see image 4). All submitted full papers will be evaluated in a peer reviewing process. The recommendation for acceptance is made by the two tracks chairs separately and the final decision about acceptance is made by the main chair of the conference committee. After decision of acceptance, the results are made available to the authors, and authors of accepted contributions are requested to upload their camera-ready copies as PDF and Word files, considering the reviewers' evaluations.

Committee: The conference committee consists of one main conference chair and two track chairs. All of them decide in a first round directly about abstract acceptance and the main conference chair makes the final decision in the second round based on the double-blind peer reviews by two sub committees with several dozen reviewers for each track.

Acceptance Statuses: Several new statuses are required to identify the acceptance of abstracts and full papers separately. Recommended statuses for this example:
Abstract Rejected, Abstract Accepted for Thermodynamics, Abstract Accepted for Liquid Cooling,
Full Paper: Recommend Rejection, Full Paper: Rejected, Full Paper: Recommend Acceptance,
Full Paper: Accepted, Full Paper: Accepted and Fees Paid (see image 5).

We recommend copying an existing status like "Accepted" to create the new "Accepted for…" statuses etc.