Conference workflow

This document will describe a quick outline of the typical conference workflow. It is intended to highlight the main stages of the conference lifecycle and how Ex Ordo integrates with each one.

However, it is important to note that no two conferences are run in the exact same way. Each stage of the conference workflow can be configured in several different ways and it’s possible to repeat or completely leave out some of the stages defined below. The actual process is completely up to the committee running the conference.

With that in mind, this document is deliberately high level in order to describe the most typical workflow and not get caught up in the details of running any specific conference.

Processes in the platform are divided in 5 main stages:

Conference setup stage

Submission stage

Reviewing stage

Program stage

Presentation stage

To target different groups of users in the system administrators can use our Communication hub. More about use of Communication hub you can read later on in a document.

Conference Setup Stage

The  conference setup usually happens around 9 months before the conference date. At this stage, the committee will complete the following tasks:

  1. Invite their other committee members as admins to the conference.
  2. Configure the steps in their submission workflow.
  3. Send a ‘Call for Papers’ email to the potential participants list to indicate that they are accepting submissions.
  4. Modify Email templates in the system according to their preferences by using macros.

Submissions Stage

Submission stage refers to a period in which administrators/organisers of the conference collect academic material for publishing at the conferences. The submissions stage lasts from as soon as the conference was setup until the defined submission closes date. This is typically for about 6-8 months.

Submission setup

At this stage, admins of the conference will fill out all main info about the conference. With Ex Ordo support team admins go trough a Set up of the conference and a  Set up of Submission Phase. At this time admins should generally know what type of submissions they will collect: Abstracts, Papers or Extended abstracts.

At this stage authors can log into the system and complete the submission workflow. They receive an automatic email receipt once they have successfully completed their submission.

There is nothing defined at this stage for the admins to complete; however, they can optionally complete any of the following tasks:

  1. Send another ‘Call for Papers’ email.
  2. Mass email the authors who have already submitted to the conference.
  3. Extend their submission deadline.

Reviewing Stage

Once the submission phase concludes, the admins should now setup the review stage. This typically happens four months before the conference day.  During this phase the reviewers are giving their feedback and opinion about all submitted papers in the system. Still final decision of acceptance is responsibility of the chair.

Review & Marking Scheme Setup

The admins go through two setup workflows in order to complete the following tasks:

  1. Determine the levels of delegation within the review system.
  2. Configure the high level settings of the review system.
  3. Configure what marking scheme the reviewers will be asked to fill out.

One set up workflow refers to  Configuring Review stage and the another one to Marking scheme Set up.

Reviewer Invitation

Reviewer invitation can begin once the review setup has been completed. This typically happens immediately after that process has completed. However, it is not uncommon for both the review setup and the reviewer invitation to happen in parallel to the final weeks of the submission stage.

Admins can  add reviewers to the system using the special workflow. Once the reviewers have been imported into the system, the admins can optionally send invitation emails to notify them, and ask them to choose the topics or admin can assign topics to the reviewer without sending on an invitation.

If you are inviting reviewers, they will be able to Accept or Decline reviewing. Explanation about the Reviewer status, and what each means in the system you can find  here.

The reviewers are then required to log into the system and complete the following tasks:

  1. Select the topics of expertise.
  2. Complete their profile by adding their affiliation.
  3. Start reviewing.

Allocation Phase

Once the reviewers have been imported into the system and the submissions phase has closed, then the system is ready to  allocate their submissions.The allocation pairs reviewers with papers based on their topic choices. The number of reviewers allocated to each submission is equal to the amount chosen during the review setup phase. 

Allocation can only be run once, and duration of the process depends of number of submissions in the system, and reviewers per paper.

Once the allocation has completed, the admins have the opportunity to revise and tweak the results before publishing them to their reviewers. This means that admin can  reassign already allocated submissions to Reviewers.

Allocation can also be made manually, what means admins will  Assigning topics to reviewers manually.

Once the admins are happy with the results of the allocation then they must publish the allocation to move into the next stage. They publish the allocation by sending out the publish email only the reviewers who were allocated reviews to complete - ‘Send to reviewers’ button.

The reviewers are then required to log into the system and complete the following tasks:

  1. Complete their profile by adding their affiliation.
  2. Start reviewing.

Review Phase

Once the allocation has published then the conference officially moves into the review phase. The review phase is where the reviewers log into the system and complete their assigned reviews. It usually lasts for 4-6 weeks.

At this stage the admins again have no explicit actions to take; however, they can optionally complete any of the following tasks to keep the review process moving:

  1. Send reminder emails to the reviewers who have not yet finished their reviews.
  2. Re-assign reviews from one reviewer to another.

Acceptance Phase

The acceptance phase is where the admins make the decision for each submission on whether it should be accepted or rejected. This phase usually happens once all of the reviews have completed; however, it can also happen in parallel with the conclusion of the review process. A decision can only be made on a submission once all of it’s reviews are completed. A decision must be made on all submitted papers before the conference is able to publish their decisions.

When all of the decisions have been made, the admins must publish the acceptance to their authors. They can then optionally notify those authors of their acceptance decision via email. Authors are only able to view their reviewer comments once the acceptance decisions have been published.

More about how do I Accept or Reject submissions, and publish the results you can find  here.

Programme Stage 

Once the conference has published their acceptance, they typically require their accepted authors to upload the final versions of their submissions. This is known as the programme stage and usually happens about two months before the conference. At this stage authors usually make final changes in their abstracts, and correct typos if any.

The programme phase typically lasts for one month. During this phase accepted authors login and complete the defined workflow.

Programme Setup

Admins must complete the following tasks to setup the programme phase:

  1. Configure the programme workflow to their needs.
  2. Configure the deadline date for the upload of this information.

At this stage there is no explicit tasks for the admin to do; however, much like during the submission and review stage, there are a number of optional tasks they can complete to ensure things run smoothly. These tasks can include:

  1. Sending out reminder emails to authors who haven’t yet uploaded their final information.
  2. Pushing the deadline back to provide more time.

Presentations Stage Add on

The presentations phase is where accepted authors log into the system to upload their presentation files for the day of the conference. It usually takes place in the final 4-6 weeks before the conference. Admins typically require their accepted authors to upload additional materials required for the conference day. This material may include powerpoint presentations or poster files, same as biographies if they want to.

Presentations Setup

Admins must complete the  presentations setup workflow where they can configure the following options:

  1. What files each acceptance type should upload.
  2. The deadlines for those files.

Again there is no specific task required of the admin during this phase however they can complete a number of optional tasks to ensure things run smoothly. These tasks can include:

  1. Monitoring the progress of the authors. 
  2. Sending reminder emails.
  3. Extending the deadlines.

Building Book of Abstracts and Online Timetable Add on

The proceedings phase is where the admins put together the timetable of the conference and optionally compile the accepted papers into a book. This usually only happens in the final 4-6 weeks of the conference. 

After all corrections are made, and admins have collected final drafts, Ex Ordo build a Book of abstracts. You can also d download all presentation files in 1 click to a single file for easy transfer to conference computers. 

Building an online timetable require from admins to create and manage sessions by title, date and time, venue and session chair. They assign presentations to each session while the submission and author details will automatically be retrieved from the system. 

Ex Ordo Conference timetable is:  Web/tablet friendly, Searchable, Always Up to Date

Registration Phase

The registration phase is where delegates pay to attend the conference. Registration is usually opened 4 months or more before the conference date and therefore runs in parallel to the many other phases. Delegates register for a conference, select options such as dinner, workshops, tours and pay for these using a secure payment facility direct to the conference account.

Like in the other phases, admins complete the  initial setup, and also setup of fees and options, and then monitor the situation as delegates log on and pay their fees.

It is also common for conferences to sell tickets to dinners, hotels or excursions as part of their overall conference package.

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