ConfTool Glossary

With the glossary below, you receive an overview of the terms and definitions that can be found in VSIS ConfTool Standard and ConfTool Pro.

The terms and definitions are explained with a focus on academic conferences. Please note that organizers can also adjust their ConfTool installation to their specific terminology in the system settings. If you are unable to locate the term or definition that you are looking for, please send us an e-mail. We shall then make every attempt to extend our glossary.

Abstract: An abstract can either be a short independent contribution for a conference or the summary of a full paper. A summary of reduced length of a contribution.

Acceptance Status: Will be confirmed after the review-process and indicates whether a contribution will be accepted and released, and in which format (i.e. full paper or poster).

Account: See User account.

Acquirer (Acquiring Bank, Credit Card Merchant): An institute that carries out the payment settlement via credit card. This can, for example, be a bank or a company specialized in credit card processing. The acquirer charges various fees, including fees based on the transaction volume.

Active: Denotes when a particular phase is “live” in the ConfTool system. If a phase is not active (deactivated), the functions that are connected to that phase cannot be executed. Whether or not a phase is active depends on the settings, for example those in phases and deadlines.

Administration of Contributions: The submission- and review process of academic meetings typically follows a number of steps/phases:  1. Submission of a contribution , 2. Assignment of the contribution to a reviewer, 3. Review phase, 4. Decision on acceptance or rejection of the contribution on basis of the reviews, 5. Submission of the final version, 6. Program planning.

Assignment: The process by which contributions are matched and assigned to the (most) appropriate reviewers. The allocation with ConfTool can be done automatically or manually. Bids and corresponding topics are taken into consideration.

Author (Submitting Author): Someone who submits a contribution for a conference in ConfTool. The submitting author is the contact person for the conference organizers, she can make changes to the contribution up until the deadline, and she will be informed of the result of the reviewing and assessment process. See also Co-Author and Presenter.

Author / Co-Author: Someone who submits a contribution in ConfTool. The Author is the person who is submitting the contribution, Co-Authors can be identified by matching e-mail addresses.

Backend (Back Office): indicates the part of the functions of ConfTool that are not accessible to “normal” users, but rather require administrative user-rights. For example, the administrator has access to the Backend and carries out the administrative tasks and the configuration of the system.

Best-Paper-Award: Option for the valuation of a submission through one or more reviewers, with which a submission will be recommended as „best paper“ of a conference.

Bidding (Phase): In ConfTool Pro reviewers can participate in a bidding process. Here they may select the contributions they would like or would not like to review (based on their personal area of expertise). The chairs will try to consider these "biddings" during the assignment of submissions to reviewers. Furthermore, reviewers can indicate potential conflicts of interests.

Bidding for Reviews: Reviewers have the possibility to bid for submissions that they would like to review because, for example, the submission concerns their area of expertise (see Bidding Phase).

Bulk Mails (Group E-Mails): A (personalized) e-mail, which is sent from the ConfTool-System to a specific user group. They will be sent through the appropriate program point in the system. Group e-mails will not be sent automatically.

Co-Author: Co-Authors are additional authors of a contribution who have not themselves submitted the contribution. They can also be informed of the result of the review process via e-mail. The allocation of the submission to their user-account (when available) is possible via their e-mail address; therefore, submitting authors should state the e-mail addresses of all co-authors in ConfTool.

Community-System: ConfTool Pro offers an online list of all participants, in which you can access the profiles of other participants.

Confirmation for Participation: This confirmation letter is automatically generated when someone has registered for a conference and contains, amongst others, participant-specific data.

Conflict of Interest (CoI): If a reviewer was involved in the research of a submission or knows the authors very well, his objectivity is usually limited. In this case he should state a conflict of interest and not review the relevant submission.

Conference Administrator: Someone who can manage every aspect of ConfTool, including ConfTool Settings, User and Participant Management, Manage Submissions, and Reviews, Conference Program Scheduling, Bulk Emails, and Data Import and Export. The administrator is usually also one of the Conference Organizers.

Chair: A person in charge of the submission and review process of a conference. Usually he acquires several reviewers who read and evaluate the submissions. Based on the reviews the chair(s) decide about acceptance and rejection of the submissions.

Conference Assistant (Assist): An administrative user with access to all users, participants and all payment details. Conference Assistants do not have access to the submissions or reviews. They also cannot access the settings of ConfTool.

Conference Chair (ConfChair): An administrative user with access to all users, all submissions and all reviews. Conference Chairs do not have access to payment details of the participant registration module and cannot access the main settings.

Conference Organizer: Someone whom participants contact for more information about a conference. The Conference Organizer and her e-mail contact details are identified in the “Main Setup” page, which is available from the “Settings” page.

Conference Proceedings: In the conference proceedings, the accepted submissions are published.

Conference Program / Conference Agenda: Compiled from the accepted submissions. Out of this list, an overview and detailed agenda are automatically generated in the ConfTool system. These can serve as the basis for the program booklet, the conference-website or a CD or USB stick with the program.

Conference Sessions: Conferences are frequently divided into thematic sessions, in which several presentations with one common topic are given. In ConfTool, sessions serve the purpose of structuring the conference program.

Conference Track: A specific field of study for a conference. Examples of conference tracks for a scientific conference may include “Biology: Revolutionary Evolution”, “Physiology of Bipedal Mammals” and “Developing Applications of Research Technology.” Administrative users may create conference tracks that are specific to their conference. Conference contributors can view and select the conference tracks for a conference.

Conference Topic: A specific area of expertise or study within a conference. Reviewers are associated with conference topics based on reviewers’ fields of study. Reviewers will only receive submissions that are most relevant to them.

Configuration (Setup): The system can be configured for all specific interests of an event. This includes user interface, functions, user-rights, allocation of topics etc.

Contribution: See Submission.

Deadline: A deadline defines the end of a phase. Once a deadline has been reached, the corresponding function of the system (for example, the possibility to submit proposals) will be automatically deactivated.

E-Commerce-Gateway: A service that allows direct billing via credit card and other payment methods. For the billing of credit cards, a contract with an acquiring bank is also required, which is usually also the provider of such a service. For the use of E-Commerce-Gateways, setup, monthly and transaction fees are charged. For ConfTool Pro there are connection modules to different E-Commerce-Gateways, for example, Braintree, Saferpay, Skrill and PayPal.

Event Layout: The user interface of ConfTool can be adjusted to the layout of your event website (logos, colors, terminology etc.).

Experts: see Reviewer.

Export Function (Data Export): With the export function, data can be exported from the ConfTool database and further processed with Office applications. Formats: XML, Excel, CSV.

File Type: A specific file format in which submissions will be accepted in ConfTool. For example, users may submit MS Word files (with a .doc or .docx extension), Acrobat Portable Document files (with a .pdf extension), or images (e.g. with a .png or .jpg extension). Default file types can be defined. In the Pro version, specific file types can be defined for each upload category.

Filter Function: All system lists can be filtered by varying criteria, i.e. search words or features, such as type of submission or acceptance status.

Final Version, Camera-Ready Copy: The final version of a submission for which the presenting author can be selected (if applicable).

Front Desk / Registration / Student Volunteer (SV): Someone who performs conference registration tasks but has no access to the submitted contributions and only limited access to financial/payment details.

Full Paper: Full / detailed form of a submission. In contrast, a short version or summary of a contribution is often termed an abstract.

HTML-Format: Formatting language to create web-sites.

Identity Data: Personal data which is provided through a participant application to an event, i.e. first name, last name and address (also see Profile). The data will be used, amongst others, for the name badge, participant list and the community system.

Import Function (Data-Import): User details can be imported into the database of ConfTool. For example, reviewers and program committee members can be transferred into the system from an Excel list.

Localization: Adjustment of a system to the requirements of a language. It includes the translation of the system and the format for numbers, currencies, and date specifications, as well as the mailing address format.

Log-In (User Registration): Registration by means of a password to a session, to enter or change personal data, contributions and / or reviews.

Log-Out: Finishing a session with ConfTool to prevent unauthorized access to your personal data.

Meta-Reviewer (Expert-Reviewer): A reviewer who has access to the reviews of his co-reviewers. The Meta-Reviewer can also be allowed to see who submitted the other reviews to intervene in the review process.

Online-Editor (WYSIWYG-Editor): Simple text-processing program, though in web-browser. Formatting such as bold, cursive and so on are possible. It can be applied for the submission of abstracts. In order to save data, HTML-format is used.

Online-Forum: Discussion platform for the program committee, in which debatable submissions can be discussed online after the review process. It serves as a decision tool for the Chairs.

Overview Lists: All data in the system such as users, contributions and participants can be accessed in the form of an overview list. Here you can navigate, filter and search the data.

Panel (Podium Discussion): Form of event for conference sessions. On a panel, experts discuss a topic (mostly with varying points of view). The audience can ask questions.

Participant: Someone who has registered for conference participation. To apply to participate at an event, users have to register in the system and enter their personal data, payment details etc.

Participant Registration: see Registration.

Participant Statistics: Overview of participant groups, the booked options and amounts.

Participant Status: Is indicated during the first step of the registration for an event. Examples: Normal, Member (membership number can be entered in a separate box), Student. Participation costs and the possible options on the registration form frequently depend upon the participant status.

Payment: Incoming payment of a participant. Payments will be either automatically processed (via PayPal or credit card with an E-Commerce-Gateway), or entered manually (for cheques and bank transfer). Payments must be controlled in both cases because many methods of payment can be cancelled for various reasons. For instance, payments per credit can be cancelled up to 60 days after payment if the client objects to a payment.

Payment Confirmation: Received automatically by the participant per e-mail when the payment is saved in ConfTool.

Payment Methods: Participants can choose the method of payment; for example, credit card, online banking, or PayPal.

Phases: The preparation of a conference can be divided into multiple phases. Below is a short account of the possible conference preparation schedule. You can find a full overview on the Conference Planning Phases page:

  1. Submission of contributions,
  2. Bidding of potential reviewer for the contribution,
  3. Allocation of contribution to the reviewer,
  4. Review of the contribution by reviewer,
  5. Discussion about acceptance and rejection by the program-committee,
  6. PC meeting with decision on status,
  7. Announcement of results,
  8. Submission of final version and
  9. Registration to participate.

Poster: Form of a submission; usually encompasses an abstract of one or two pages.

Presenter: Person that presents a contribution at the conference. Although not compulsory, often the submitting author of a contribution is also the presenter.

Profile: Personal data of a user of ConfTool which is entered during registration. Furthermore, photos can be provided, for example, for the community system.

Program Committee (PC, Steering Committee, Conveners): Executive board of the event; responsible for the academic program of the conference. The PC is usually made up of the chairs and the reviewers of a conference. In the PC meeting, they decide on the acceptance and rejection of submissions. Some conferences also have additional reviewers who are not members of the program committee.

Quick Links: Short cuts in ConfTool, in order to be able to access the most important functions quickly.

Registration for Participation (Phase): The phase of a conference in which users register for conference activities (i.e. registration for conference participation). During the registration process, users fill out their personal data and their preferred options for booking and payment. Once successfully registered, participants automatically receive a confirmation and can print out their bill.

Review: A reviewer’s evaluation of a submission with a recommendation to the program committee (PC) as to whether or not the submission should be accepted for the event. Usually, at least two experts review a submission. On the basis of the results, the acceptance of the submission will be decided by the Chair (acceptance status).

Reviewing: Users registered as reviewers in ConfTool inspect and download the allocated submissions and submit their evaluation.

Reviewing (Phase): The conference phase in which reviewers review and rate conference submissions.

Reviewer / Expert: Someone who can inspect and evaluate submissions that have been assigned to them by a Chair. Reviewers can „bid“ for certain submissions, which means they can apply for those reviews. In the system, the role of the reviewer will be given by Conference Administrators or Chairs.

Rights: Defines / limits the actions a user can perform.

Search Function: You can set filters and search for terms and definitions in all overview lists.

Server Time: The system clock of the server on which ConfTool is hosted. In ConfTool Pro, a different time zone can be set for any conference event and the according deadlines will apply. The server clock can be adjusted on the "Main Setup" page, which can be accessed from the "Settings" page.

Session: see Conference Sessions.

Session Overview: An abstract or short description for a conference session.

Short Paper/Abstract: Short form of a contribution or a summary, as the case may be.

SSL-Certificate (HTTPS-transfer): With the help of a SSL-certificate, the safe transfer of data between a Web browser (i.e. Firefox) and a Website is provided, so that the transferred data cannot be intercepted or manipulated by third parties. Usually, certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities which guarantee the identity of the server provider.

Student Volunteer (SV): Persons (usually students) who execute helping tasks during the organization and course of the conference for a certain amount of time. For their services, volunteer helpers can take part in the conference free of charge.

Sub-Conference / Conference Track (Network, Stream): Some conferences have sub-events / strands / tracks with a separate review process, specific topics and special Chairs. You will require the ConfTool Pro Track-Chair Module for this functionality. Track Chairs will only have access to submissions of their own track.

Submission / Contribution / Proposal: A contribution that an author submits for reviewing to a conference in ConfTool. A submission can, for instance, be a full paper, an abstract, or a poster.

Submission Phase: The conference phase in which users can submit and upload contributions to be reviewed and considered for the conference program.

Submissions, Maximum Number: Reviewers can state a maximum number of submissions that they would like to review.

Submissions List: Chairs of a conference have access to all submitted contributions of the conference (or correspondingly their own track only). A reviewer can see a list of submissions assigned to her for review.

Topics: Authors can indicate suitable topics while submitting a contribution. Reviewers can choose their academic focal point from the same topics. The allocation of submissions to reviewers can be based on matching topics.

Track: see Conference-Track.

Track-Chair Module: Additional program module for ConfTool Pro that allows allocating Chairs, Reviewers and topics to sub-conferences of an event (e.g. tracks, streams or workshops). Chairs get access to the submissions and reviews of their own tracks only, but not to those of other Chairs.

Tutorial: Form of event for sessions at a conference. Tutorials often take place in the run-up to the actual conference: Experts speaks on a (current) issue. Tutorials usually last longer than a normal lecture and often cost an additional fee.

Type of Submission: With ConfTool, you can administer different types of submitted contributions. These can be, for example, abstracts (short submissions), full papers, posters and workshop contributions.

Unicode: Standardized codification form for characters with which any symbol of known literary languages can be displayed. Increasingly turning into the standard for the Web, e-mails and all other data.

User Account: After registration, every person who registers with ConfTool automatically creates his own user account. Here, he can manage his data and submissions and register for conference participation. User accounts are password-protected and only persons authorized by the organizer have access to this data.

User Profile: Personal data of a user including her user status / user role. All users must create their own profile while setting up their user account.

Web-Form:Form that can be filled out in a Web browser (i.e. Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer).

Workshops: Form of an event for sessions of a conference. Usually led by experts on a specific topic. Participants submit their own contribution. This topic will be worked through together with all participants, lectures are given and new findings are discussed. A workshop usually runs for half a day or a full day.