In our minds, one of the more interesting things about technology is the phenomenon of “Once you get it, you need it, and must have it.”
You’d think it’d work the other way around, but it rarely does. We see a new bit of technology, we think “Oh, that’s nice enough, but we don’t really need it,” and then when we finally break down and get it, we wonder how we lived without for so long.
Smartphones, cellular phones before that, computers before that; DVD players, heck, some of us are old enough to remember when microwaves were a luxury in the home. But if someone were to try to take your cell phone away today, it’d be tempting to reply “Um, could you just take one of my pinkies instead?”
We bring this up because we think that many associations will feel much the same way about “Call for Papers” Abstract Management software in the future.
The first thought might be “is that really necessary?” but once you have it, well, you’ll wonder how you lived without for so long.
The value of good speakers who provide academic papers and speak at association conferences cannot be overstated; they are invaluable for the viability and draw of your non-dues related income.
But the process can get to be quite a burden for many associations, with so many steps involved that can be difficult to keep straight.
Here are few of the challenges we hear today:
- Finding good presenters
- Selecting the proper reviewers who are on various committees,
- Segmenting a disparate Abstract Call for paper system not tied to the AMS to determine who has the right skill set
- Scoring the Abstract Call for papers
- Providing copies to your disparate volunteer based reviewers in hard copy
- Sending out emails and setting up single-blind or double-blind readings (and just in general who reads what),
- Coordinating responses (setting up online meetings)
- Informing the authors of the approved papers
- Scheduling sessions after the call is finalized and presenters are selected
What’s worse, it’s often like a crowded highway, in that one slight delay at the front leads to big delays down the road.
Now picture the process with the advantages of your own “Call for Papers” Abstract Management software.
You send out an e-mail from your current Association Management software to the potential or past authors, who then have a web site link location on your web site for submitting their work or presentation.
That same web site (which can be tied directly to your association management software database) will then allow peer, volunteer, or committee selected reviewers to log in and read the submissions, with your single- or double-blind systems already built in.
Peer reviews can be posted instantly, and reports can be made with easy access to the number of submissions received, number of submissions accepted or rejected, and number of submissions awaiting review.
Because the system is tied to your member database the system already has the author’s information quickly populated upon log in, demographic information filled in upon entry and could potentially inform the presenters of their paper’s status all becomes a one-click process.
As you can see, an automated streamlined process takes a lot of the hassle out of an old manual process and automates the mundane not only for the staff but your members/donors.
What’s more, many Abstract software packages used today to handle the call for papers can also accommodate conference organization, such as setting dates/times for the conference sessions, informing authors of those dates and accepting their payments for attendance.
In addition, Abstract Management software will even be able to collect the abstracts of the papers and provide them in a written report for conference program printing.
Indeed, you can probably live without this type of software, but once you see what it can do for you, you’ll wonder why you ever tried.
If you have any questions or would like to get started on finding the right software for your conference management needs, please feel free to contact us.