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Why Abstract Management Shouldn’t Be A Nightmare Before A Conference?

Mar 01, 2017

The aim of a conference is to provide the wider community, including association members and researchers the opportunity to showcase their work. The organisers first ask community to submit their relevant presentations, which will be reviewed then in order to find the most interesting ones to present at the conference. Ones the best works were selected, they are presented at the conference by he author or authors. But this process is not that easy as it was thought nor that difficult as it was scared.

A conference is an event where practitioners and scientific and research communities come together to share knowledge and research. It's a chance to set the groundwork for future collaboration and research, and to catch up with peers. For a conference to be successful, the organisers needs to attract speakers who will facilitate discussion and educate delegates. This process is called as "Call For Abstracts".

What is call for abstracts?

A call for abstracts is the tool that conference organisers use to ensure that they attract the right speakers. This is done by asking the community to submit relevant presentations, which are then reviewed in order to find the most interesting to present at the conference.

Why conference organisers promote calls for abstracts?

The goal of promoting calls for abstracts is to attract the best research from the wider community to present at the conference. By doing so, organisers raise awareness about their conference so the best people want to submit and be a part of it. This ultimately gives attendees the best possible experience, while achieving the goals of the conference and adding credibility to the organisation they are attending.

Is it a time consuming process?

Planning for a conference usually begins anywhere between 12–18 months prior to the conference start date. The abstract process takes place approximately 9–12 months beforehand. The time spent setting up an online abstract solution will save you a lot of time during each stage.

Should I use an abstract management tool?

Definitely yes. There are variety of online tools for this purpose which may bring an order and standardisation for your business. But abstract management tools usually confine themselves with only abstract collecting and evaluating functions. Actually, it would be wiser to use an online event management tool like MeetingHand Online Event Management Software which will also solve other problems like registration, web page, travel services or payment gathering. Moreover these tools enable reviewers to evaluate and score abstracts online according to a scientific criteria.

How to use a website for abstract management?

Your website is a valuable marketing and communications tool for attracting both speakers and delegates. If you have a conference website, your website should also include key dates of the submission process such as calls for abstracts opening, calls for abstracts closing, reviewing – feedback, reviewing – decisions and allocations etc. A submission criteria and guidelines will also make submitters life easier.

Creating your lists

When it comes to developing mailing lists for calls for abstracts, you don't have to start from scratch. It's likely you already have contacts saved from last year's lists. The key groups to target can be past submitters, past speakers and poster presenters, past delegates, association members, email/website subscribers, influencers or experts in the field. It's also worth making sure the right people are on the list, this includes adding your committee members to keep them informed.

Reviewing

To establish consistency across all abstract reviews, first you need to provide reviewers with clear guidelines. By doing this clearly, you're paving the way for higher quality reviews that lead to high quality conference content.Abstracts should be allocated to reviewers based on their expertise. Because, if the reviewer has expertise in the area they are reviewing, it will save time. But reviewers should not review abstracts that will benefit them personally or professionally, or if they have strong biases towards the submitter. To help mitigate this, provide reviewers with clear guidelines outlining potential conflicts.

Reviewing formats

There are two types of reviewing formats – A blind review which the reviewer and author(s) do not know each other's identities and open review is the opposite. It is up to the committee as to what type of reviewing will be used. There are usually only one or two rounds of reviewing. A second round of reviewing may take place when full paper submissions are requested or required.

Scoring criteria

Scoring criteria are usually set early in the conference planning by the chairs and convenors. The criteria are unique to each organisation and each conference. Usually they assess areas such as relevance to the conference, originality, scientific method and presentation.

Decisions and allocations

When all abstracts have been reviewed and scores collated, the abstracts are allocated into presentation time slots. The conference manager or convenor must communicate with every submitter to inform them of the decision and if the submitter is successful, notify them of their allocated presentation type. Most conferences have three likely allocations – poster presentation, oral presentation and reject.


About the Author

Erkan OGULGANMIS

Posted by Erkan OGULGANMIS

Erkan OGULGANMIS Graduated from Army War College, completed MA degree in Ankara University on Global & Regional Studies, studies law in Istanbul University. Works in MEETINGHAND Online Solutions Co. as Business Development & Sales Manager.