The #1 reason attendees choose a conference–whether in-person or virtual–is for the educational sessions. Which is why it’s so important to select and schedule sessions that align not only with attendees’ interests, but also with your organization’s quality standards.
Many organizations use an open or invited call for abstracts, papers, and presentations to source this content, relying on an extensive peer or staff review process to identify and select the highest-quality papers and presentations, and help weed out those that aren’t.
You can help your reviewers with this task by putting a few simple steps in place at the front-end of your submission process, to help deter incomplete or lower-quality submissions from even making it through the submission process.
1. Charge a submission fee
While submission fees can help generate some added revenue for the conference, the primary purpose is to discourage submissions from those who are simply “phishing” for any available opportunity. You can set the fee at a modest level–just enough to discourage less-than-serious submissions, but not so high that it becomes a barrier to your authors or presenters. Some find that even a modest fee encourages more thoughtful, thorough, and complete submissions from even the most legitimate authors.
2. Limit per-author submissions
Some meeting planners institute a limit on the total number of abstracts one author can submit, ensuring they present only their best work for consideration. Others set limits within their abstract management system that prevents a speaker from starting a new submission until their previous submission is complete.
3. Use plagiarism detection tools
The internet has made it easier to access, and in some cases “borrow” previously published work. As a result, more organizations are turning to plagiarism detection tools such as iThenticate as part of their scholarly paper review process. Some abstract management systems (such as CATALYST) can integrate directly with iThenticate, using essentially a one-click process to upload abstracts and papers to their database from within the submission form. Results are returned to the conference planner within minutes.
Top-notch event content is one the most important elements your conference can provide. Making some simple changes to your author and speaker submission process can help ensure you receive the high-quality materials that reflect your organization’s reputation. Not only will great content help generate interest in your next event, but over the long term, it will continue to reinforce your position as the go-to resource for your industry.