Academic conferences stand as beacons of knowledge, providing platforms for scholars to converge, share insights, and pave the way for groundbreaking research. While these events represent the culmination of collective academic efforts, their success hinges on the quality and rigor of the research abstracts presented. The journey from the initial announcement and call for papers to the publication of the book of abstracts is a meticulous process that requires careful planning, precise execution, and the right tools. In this article, we embark on a comprehensive exploration of this journey, unveiling the steps involved and shedding light on how to navigate them seamlessly. Join us as we delve into the intricate world of academic conference preparation, where the magic truly happens.

Pre-Conference Preparation and Announcement

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

The journey of an academic conference begins with meticulous planning and preparation. From an abstract management perspective, this step commences with the formation of a scientific committee, whose members are entrusted with key responsibilities. The committee's initial task is to define the overarching conference theme and delineate the scientific topics that will guide the event. In some cases, the committee may choose to invite suggestions for topics, involving the academic community in shaping the conference's content. Once the topics are crystallized, the committee takes the pivotal step of publishing a call for abstracts on the conference webpage.

In parallel, the scientific committee establishes clear and transparent evaluation and acceptance criteria. These criteria ensure that abstract submissions align with the conference's objectives and standards. To manage the review process efficiently, the committee may designate a chief reviewer, responsible for overseeing the entire abstract evaluation procedure and assigning submitted abstracts to appropriate reviewers.

Setting a well-defined timeline is crucial to keep the abstract management process on track. The committee creates a timeline that encompasses abstract submission, review periods, and evaluation deadlines, ensuring that all tasks are completed within the specified timeframes. The scientific committee may also choose to categorize abstracts based on presentation types (e.g., oral presentations, posters, workshops). In such cases, they decide on the presentation types, potential limits on the number of submissions, and the respective limits allocated to each presentation type.

Another crucial responsibility of the scientific committee is the preparation of an abstract submission guideline. This guideline serves as a compass for prospective submitters, offering a detailed explanation of the submission process, an abstract template, and essential formatting requirements. The guideline is a valuable resource that authors can refer to as they prepare their abstracts and should be made readily available on the conference website. In essence, this phase of pre-event preparation and announcement lays the foundation for a successful conference, ensuring that the call for abstracts and the subsequent management process are both efficient and transparent.

Designing an Effective Abstract Submission Form

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

In the realm of academic event preparation, designing an abstract submission form is a critical aspect often overlooked. Nevertheless, the design and functionality of this form play a pivotal role in shaping the success of the conference. A well-crafted submission form should not only align with the event's objectives but also cater to the authors' diverse needs and expectations. It must provide a user-friendly experience, allowing authors to submit their abstracts seamlessly. This entails incorporating features such as the ability to add co-authors, detailed affiliation information, and even the capability to include complex mathematical formulas, special characters, images, tables, charts, or video links. Moreover, the form should enable authors to enter keywords and list references, ensuring that their submissions are comprehensive and adhere to the event's submission guidelines.

MeetingHand, a leading event management platform, empowers event planners with a very sophisticated and flexible abstract submission form builder. This tool enables organizers to create tailored submission forms that align perfectly with the event's objectives and the diverse needs of authors. With MeetingHand's abstract submission form builder, the submission process becomes a seamless and efficient experience, ultimately contributing significantly to the overall success of the academic event.

Abstract Submission and Management Step

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

The abstract submission step marks the pivotal moment when authors, eager to contribute to the academic discourse, initiate the process of sharing their research findings. In contemporary conferences, this step is often facilitated through sophisticated online abstract management platforms like MeetingHand, which offer a multitude of benefits to both authors and event organizers.

One of the significant advantages of employing an online abstract management tool is the creation of a participant account for authors. With this account, authors can seamlessly submit their abstracts, track the progress of their submissions, and receive real-time updates about the evaluation process. Automated notifications, including acceptance letters and other critical information, not only keep authors informed but also save invaluable time for the scientific committee, allowing them to focus on the core aspects of the review process.

Moreover, the online system empowers authors to make edits to their abstracts when necessary, particularly in cases where conditional acceptance hinges on requested changes or improvements. This streamlined process ensures that the submission meets the required standards without cumbersome back-and-forth communication.

Intriguingly, the submission process within the online abstract management system offers the scientific committee a direct channel for communication with authors. They can pose pertinent questions to submitters, gather essential information, and gauge their preferences. These inquiries can range from whether authors are amenable to a presentation type change to whether they wish to be considered for the best presentation award or if they grant permission for their papers to be published in a designated journal.

What's noteworthy is that the scientific committee need not wait until the submission deadline to commence the review process. The parallel management system provided by the online platform allows the committee to promptly assign the submitted papers to reviewers, initiating the meticulous evaluation process while abstract submissions are still underway. This proactive approach ensures that the conference preparation remains on schedule, and the scientific committee can efficiently handle the influx of abstracts as they arrive.

In sum, the abstract submission step, fortified by a sophisticated online abstract management platform, not only eases the process for authors but also provides event organizers with the tools to efficiently manage and streamline the abstract submission process, ultimately contributing to the success of the academic conference.

Abstract Review and Evaluation Step

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

The Abstract Review and Evaluation step is a crucial stage in the journey of shaping an academic event. It begins with the careful selection of expert reviewers who possess the knowledge and expertise to make informed judgments regarding the quality and competency of the submitted papers. These reviewers are often grouped based on their scientific backgrounds and expertise in specific topics, ensuring that each submission is evaluated by a reviewer well-versed in the subject matter.

The efficient orchestration of this step is facilitated by an online abstract management system, such as MeetingHand. Such systems streamline the process by assigning submitted abstracts to the designated reviewers. These systems also send automated notifications to reviewers, ensuring that they are promptly informed about the abstracts awaiting their review.

Reviewers assess the submitted papers according to predefined criteria set by the scientific committee. These criteria encompass aspects such as clarity, relevance, originality, and methodology. In addition to assigning scores, reviewers may provide valuable comments on the submitted papers. These comments may include suggestions for correctional editing, revisions, or recommendations to change the presentation type (e.g., from oral to poster, or vice versa).

To enhance fairness and rigor in the evaluation process, many events opt for a blind peer review system, where the author names remain concealed to prevent any potential biases. Assigning a paper to multiple reviewers ensures a comprehensive evaluation, drawing from a diversity of perspectives.

The review process may vary, depending on the event's requirements. It can be an overall review leading to a single decision of acceptance or rejection. Alternatively, it may employ an advanced evaluation questionnaire, where each question is assigned a specific score, and the total score determines the paper's fate.

Upon completion of reviewer evaluations, the papers return to the scientific committee. The committee, equipped with the valuable insights provided by the reviewers, makes the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection. If a paper is accepted, an acceptance notification is promptly dispatched to the submitter. In cases where a paper is conditionally accepted, contingent upon the implementation of suggested changes or corrections, a notification with comments is sent, initiating a new cycle of revisions.

At the conclusion of this meticulous process, the scientific committee assembles a set of accepted papers, ready to take their place on the conference stage, adding to the tapestry of knowledge exchange and academic discourse.

Author Notification and Revisions

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

Effective communication between the scientific committee and submitters is the linchpin of a successful abstract management system. Given the typically high volume of submitted papers in academic events, addressing individual issues manually can be time-consuming and error-prone. A seamless and efficient online abstract management system is indispensable in managing this phase.

The communication process typically commences with the creation of an attendee account and confirmation of account setup. Depending on the conference's design, submitters may be required to register for the event beforehand, or they may choose to wait for the review results before registering. In either case, submitters initiate the process by creating an online account through the abstract management system. Upon registration, systems like MeetingHand trigger automated confirmation emails, furnishing submitters with login credentials for their submitter accounts.

The subsequent communication requirement revolves around informing submitters about any requested corrections if their papers are conditionally accepted. Given the time-sensitive nature of the evaluation process, submitters must receive these notifications promptly, allowing them to make the necessary revisions and resubmit their papers. A robust abstract management tool can automate this process, sending conditional acceptance emails and providing submitters with the capability to edit and re-upload their papers via their submitter accounts.

In some instances, authors may require an official acceptance letter for submission to their organizations to secure funding or obtain official leave for the conference. Abstract management systems typically offer downloadable acceptance letters or send them automatically via email to accommodate these needs.

Perhaps one of the most critical pieces of information for submitters is their presentation date and time on the event program. This information is vital for submitters to make travel and presentation preparations. Usually, reliable abstract management software sends an automated email about the event program and the presentation time of the authors and repeats it if any change in the event program happens. To facilitate the smooth flow of presentations, some events opt to collect presentation files in advance. This proactive approach allows for preliminary organization and technical setup before the event commences. Nonetheless, as in any event, unexpected changes can occur. Submitters may face unforeseen circumstances that prevent their attendance, or last-minute alterations to the event program may be necessary. A robust abstract management tool, like MeetingHand, proves invaluable in managing these unforeseen developments and ensuring a seamless and well-organized event.

Building the Event Program

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

The creation of an event program is a pivotal step following the review and evaluation process. However, it's not merely about slotting accepted papers into sessions; it's about shaping the entire conference and orchestrating all its activities. Building a robust event program necessitates meticulous planning and consideration of various elements.

To start, it's essential to calculate the usable time, taking into account the event's start and end dates, as well as the start and end times for each day. Deducting time for lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and social activities leaves you with the available time for presentations, panels, seminars, workshops, and discussions. This schedule must also accommodate any invited speaker presentations, if applicable.

Conference planners often organize sessions based on specific topics or presentation types, such as oral and poster presentations. Oral presentations are typically scheduled individually and consecutively, providing attendees with a structured flow of information. In contrast, poster presentations can be held simultaneously in a dedicated poster presentation hall, even during break times, to engage interested audiences. Flexibility is key, and organizers should confirm the attendance of presenters and make necessary adjustments if any changes arise.

The chairs of each session play a critical role in this planning process and should always have contingency plans in place for last-minute changes or unforeseen circumstances. Despite careful planning, technical issues during presentations can occasionally disrupt the program. Hence, organizers should have backup plans for unexpected technical problems to ensure the event's continuity.

Sharing the program on the event website, attendee accounts, and relevant social media platforms helps both organizers and attendees orient themselves better. Additionally, displaying program information on roll-up banners in visible locations within the event venue can assist attendees in staying informed. Providing a pocket program alongside attendee badges is another effective strategy, enabling attendees to track the schedule, mark their favorite presentations, and stay engaged with the event's offerings. Building a comprehensive and well-communicated event program is fundamental to delivering a successful and memorable conference experience.

Publication of The Book of Abstracts and Proceedings

Mastering the Abstract Management Process in Academic Conferences: From Submission to Publication

The publication of a Book of Abstracts or Proceedings represents the pinnacle of a successful conference. These publications typically take the form of books, available in both e-book and printed formats, serving as a lasting record of the event. While they share the goal of documenting the conference's intellectual output, there are distinctions between the two.

a. Book of Proceedings:

This publication houses full-length, peer-reviewed papers that were presented during the conference. These papers provide in-depth insights into the research and findings shared at the event.

b. Book of Abstracts:

In contrast, the Book of Abstracts includes only abstracts or extended abstracts of the papers presented at the academic meeting. These abstracts offer concise summaries of the research and ideas explored during the conference.

The Book of Abstracts is typically published ahead of the event, allowing for convenient distribution to participants and enhancing their pre-event preparation. These books are often produced in hard copy format, alongside online publication, for ease of distribution and record-keeping.

Conversely, the Book of Proceedings may be published after the event, making hard copies less essential for distribution. This distinction in timing allows for a comprehensive compilation of the full-length papers presented, serving as a valuable academic resource for the broader research community. Both publications play vital roles in preserving and disseminating the intellectual contributions made during the conference, ensuring that the insights and knowledge shared continue to benefit the academic community.

A. The Structure of a Book of Abstracts:

A Book of Abstracts typically follows a structured format, making it easy for readers to access and understand the content. While specific elements may vary, here's a general overview:

  1. Cover: The cover is the first thing readers see and typically includes the conference title, logo, date, and often an attractive image or design relevant to the event.

  2. Front Matter:

    • Title Page: Contains the title of the book, the conference name, date, and may include the names of organizing institutions.
    • Copyright Page: Includes copyright information and often outlines how the content can be used or cited.
  3. Table of Contents: A list of all the abstracts included in the book, providing page numbers for quick reference.

  4. Introduction: An introductory section that may include a welcome message from the organizers, an overview of the event, and information on the abstract submission and review process.

  5. Abstracts: The core content of the book, where each abstract is presented. Abstracts are typically grouped according to the conference's thematic sessions or topics.

  6. Author Index: An alphabetical list of authors' names with corresponding page numbers, making it easy for readers to locate abstracts by a specific author.

  7. Keywords Index: An index listing keywords or subject terms used in the abstracts, along with the corresponding page numbers. This aids in identifying abstracts related to specific topics.

  8. Back Matter:

    • Acknowledgments: A section where organizers can acknowledge individuals or institutions that contributed to the conference.
    • Conference Information: Details about the conference venue, dates, program, and organizers.
    • Sponsors and Partners: Acknowledgments for conference sponsors and partners.
    • Contact Information: Information on how to contact the conference organizers for inquiries or future collaboration.
    • Notes: Any additional information or notes relevant to the conference or the book itself.

B. The Structure of a Book of Proceedings:

The structure of a Book of Proceedings, which contains full-length papers, often aligns with academic publishing conventions. Here's a typical structure:

  1. Cover: Similar to the Book of Abstracts, it includes the conference title, logo, date, and a relevant image or design.

  2. Front Matter:

    • Title Page: Displays the book's title, the conference's name, date, and the names of organizing institutions.
    • Copyright Page: Provides copyright information and outlines usage and citation guidelines.
  3. Table of Contents: Lists all the papers included in the book, with page numbers for quick reference.

  4. Preface or Introduction: An introductory section that may feature a foreword from the conference organizers, providing context and highlights of the conference.

  5. Full-Length Papers: The central content, featuring the complete papers presented during the conference. These papers are organized by session or topic.

  6. Author Index: An alphabetical list of authors' names with corresponding page numbers for quick author-specific access.

  7. Keywords Index: An index of keywords or subject terms used in the papers, along with corresponding page numbers.

  8. Back Matter:

    • Acknowledgments: A section where organizers can thank contributors, reviewers, and supporters.
    • Conference Information: Details about the conference venue, dates, program, and organizers.
    • Sponsors and Partners: Acknowledgments for conference sponsors and partners.
    • Contact Information: Information on how to reach out to the conference organizers.
    • Notes: Any additional information or notes relevant to the conference or the book itself.

The structure and contents may vary depending on the specific conference and publisher's preferences, but this template provides a general outline for organizing a Book of Abstracts and a Book of Proceedings effectively.


In the intricate world of academic conferences, the path from the announcement of an event to the publication of its Book of Abstracts and Proceedings is one rife with dedication, meticulous planning, and technological innovation. The journey begins with the assembly of a scientific committee, tasked with the responsibility of defining the conference's thematic landscape, selecting topics, and establishing evaluation criteria. Abstract submission and review are streamlined through advanced online management tools like MeetingHand, which offer not only convenience for submitters but also substantial time savings for organizers.

Effective communication between committees and submitters remains vital, ensuring the smooth execution of corrections, acceptances, and notification processes. Submitters rely on these channels for crucial information, including their presentation times and acceptance letters, reinforcing the significance of a well-designed abstract management system. As the event program takes shape, organizers orchestrate sessions and allocate presentation slots, accounting for last-minute changes and unforeseen technical challenges.

Finally, the conference's intellectual legacy is preserved through the publication of Books of Abstracts and Proceedings, each meticulously structured to enhance accessibility and utility for readers. These publications encapsulate the wealth of knowledge and research shared during the conference, offering valuable resources for scholars and students. In this complex academic journey, MeetingHand serves as a steadfast companion, simplifying and enhancing the abstract management process, making the path from inception to publication one paved with innovation, efficiency, and academic excellence.

MeetingHand - Your Partner for Seamless Abstract Management

meetinghand online event management software.png

To streamline and simplify the abstract submission and evaluation process, event organizers can rely on dedicated event management platforms like MeetingHand. This powerful tool offers end-to-end support, from setting up the call for papers to managing submissions and facilitating the review process. MeetingHand's intuitive interface ensures a user-friendly experience for both authors and reviewers, allowing for easy submission and evaluation. With automated workflows, real-time communication, and customizable criteria, MeetingHand empowers organizers to efficiently manage the abstract lifecycle. From notifications to program creation and publishing the book of abstracts, MeetingHand is the ideal companion for event organizers seeking a seamless and SEO-friendly conference experience.

To learn how MeetingHand can help you organize perfect academic events, please visit our website, or attend a live demo with us by clicking the link below.


Images by Freepik