5 tips for setting up abstract management software

Reliable and flexible abstract management software is invaluable to research and academic conference organisers, regardless of the size of the planned conference. However, whichever abstract management system that you decide to use, it will only work for you if you configure it properly.

It’s important to be aware that if you don’t maximise the potential of your abstract management software, you may still have to carry out unnecessary manual checks, or spend time clearing up any confusion that exists with authors, reviewers and committee members.

So, we’ve put together a list of 5 tips to keep in mind when you are setting up your abstract management software:

Set up your submission form

As a conference organiser, you have probably already decided whether you are going to be accepting abstracts over full paper submission, or vice versa - or maybe even both (if so, consider using our Multi-stage bolt-on). This will determine, to some extent, how you design your submission form. However, there will probably be a range of other questions required, in order to get the data you need from submitters.

Flexible abstract management software like ours ensures that you can set up submission forms with a range of different questions from default templates to custom questions, so that you can get exactly the information you need from authors.

Are symposia required?

Creating symposia within your conference means you can organise your abstracts into ‘sub-conferences’ or panels, each with its own chair, discussant and thematic area. Our Symposium bolt-on allows different ways of controlling who can submit a symposium and who can attach abstracts to symposia. If this is a requirement, it is a good idea to set this up within your abstract management system before you release your call for submissions. Doing this will make organising your submissions, especially if you are expecting a high volume, easier down the line.

Decide on a grading scheme

When setting up your review form, it’s important that your reviewers know exactly how the abstracts they have been assigned should be graded. Do you require an overall grade? Or should you ask for individual grades on specific elements – eg – originality, or advancement of research field? Are comments needed, and if so, should you set word limits? A good marking scheme enhances the quality of the reviews, and therefore the quality of your conference.

A good abstract management system should offer flexible form templates with a range of questions that can provide you with what you need to create a review form for your requirements. It should also ensure that your communication with reviewers, committee members and authors is quick and seamless - this is why we’ve made sure that our abstract management software includes fully integrated email templates, automatic and manual.

Assess your reviewer workload

Taking a moment to review the workload of all your reviewers for your abstract submissions is critical, especially if you are setting up a large scale conference, which involves a higher number of people.

Understanding how long it will take to review and decide upon an abstract is also important, as this is the first initial step before allocating submissions to reviewers. A short 300 word abstract can take around 30 minutes to review, whereas a paper might take all day, for example.

Our comprehensive abstract management software allows conference organisers to assign abstracts and papers to reviewers individually or in bulk. The reviewer then simply logs in to their dashboard, and the simple reviewer interface ensures your reviewers will not be overwhelmed or faced with complex systems to navigate.

This is a crucial step as no matter how sophisticated your abstract management software is, if your reviewers are overloaded they will miss deadlines, which could escalate issues further down the line.

The decision making process

When all submissions are in, and the reviewing process is complete, it will be time for the committee, or panel, to make decisions on which of the abstracts will be successful.The decision form and process though, will have been planned and set up in your abstract management software before you get to this stage.

It is important to know what sort of permissions you would like your committee to have when setting up your abstract management software. For instance - do you want them to be able to individually make decisions? Or should this be left to the administrator on the committee’s behalf? Should specific committee members be assigned specific categories? Other factors to bear in mind are acceptance types. Are these just for oral or poster, or are there other possibilities, eg - workshops? Good abstract management software should be able to handle a range of requirements when it comes to making decisions on abstracts, as well as an email system with extensive capabilities that can make the notification process simple, as well as reliable.

Why not get in touch with our friendly team, and see how our flexible, intuitive abstract management software can ensure smooth, professional and user friendly management of your conference or event?

We provide high-quality customer service, dedicated to ensuring that all our conference organisers get the most benefit from our comprehensive abstract management system. Contact us for a free trial or a demo.