What is a track?
Most conferences collect, review and accept all submissions together.
However, some conferences have a more complex process and might need to review submissions in batches or to have specific chairs for different groups of submissions. These are what we call multi-track conferences.
Tracks are a way to manage sub-streams within a conference independently. A track can have its own chair, deadlines, topics and set of reviewers. They work like sub-conferences within the conference.
For examples, tracks could be used to manage:
- A conference with submissions in English, French and Spanish and different reviewers for each language.
- A conference collecting a first batch of submissions in May, which will be reviewed in July, and a second batch in August, which will be reviewed in September.
- A conference on Instruments, which will have one Chair supervising all the submissions and reviewers dealing with Brass instruments, another one for Percussion, another one for Strings and another one for Woodwinds.
What’s the difference between a Track and a Topic?
We realised that, sometimes, track are confused with topics in the system. So, what’s the difference?
Topics are used to categorize submissions within a track.
If you take the example of the conference on Instruments with four tracks, topics for the Strings track could be: violin, cello, bass and harp.
You could also have a single-track conference on Instruments, with a single set of reviewers and of deadlines. In that case, Brass, Percussion, Strings and Woodwinds could be your main topics, and you could use violin, cello, bass and harp as sub-topics within the Strings topic.
So how do you know if you should use tracks of topics? Tracks should only be used if you need to define different deadlines or different chairs for defined groups of submissions.
How is our system supporting tracks?
Using tracks has an impact on all the stages of the conference workflow: set up, submission, reviewing and accepting.
You can configure the following elements separately, for each track:
- Track chairs: track-chairs can only see the submissions and reviews for their track
- Submission deadline
- Reviewing deadline
At the submission stage, authors will have to first choose the track they want to submit to and only after that can they then choose their topics.
For each track, you can choose when submission should open and close.
Review and accept
You can invite different sets of reviewers for each track. You can also choose different reviewing dates. This means you can start reviewing submissions for one track while still accepting submissions for another one. Likewise, you can accept submissions independently.
You can define if a reviewer should review submissions from all the tracks or limit it to only one track.
We'll continue adding features to manage tracks. Eventually, it will be possible to configure different formats, custom fields and marking schemes for each track and the programme will be optimised for multi-tracks conferences.