3 Really Easy and Truly Practical Ways to Stop the Collection Insanity

“To get different results, you need to do things differently.”

Have we all (unnecessarily) resigned ourselves to the fact that a collection and peer review process comes with a certain level of pain? Yes, there are a tremendous number of moving parts to manage. Yes, there will always be late submissions, late-night questions and last-minute program changes. But does it need to really be this difficult, each and every year?

Actually, no.

There are some pretty simple changes that you can make to your collection process that will save you a tremendous amount of pain and hassle in the long run. Here are just a few:

  1. Think about your end products first, not last.

Before you build your collection site, make a list of all your final conference outputs such as your printed program book, proceedings, website, USBs or mobile app. Then, note all of the information you’ll need from your submitters, and in what formats. Be sure to collect this information as part of the initial submission process, rather than hunting down the information later. Not only will this save time, it will minimize the possibility that you’ll end up with incomplete or inconsistent information.

Bonus tip: Also think about the internal information you might want to have, to update your own membership records in your AMS or to market the benefits of membership to non-member submitters.

  1. Set deadlines with the worst case scenario in mind.

It’s extremely common for submitters to work on their submissions up to the very last minute. And, it’s at this eleventh hour that the greatest number of questions and issues typically arise. Don’t set yourself up for late night phone calls. Instead, set your deadline earlier in the week, in the middle of the business day.

Bonus tip: Set a hard site close date based on your conference timeline. Then, set an advertised close date approximately one week earlier. This will help you maintain your conference plan while providing some flexibility to your submitters.

  1. Have a designated “database of record.”

After the collection site has closed, as you and your team are working on your final outputs—a program book, event app, etc.—where and how will you keep track of the inevitable last-minute changes? How do you avoid sending different versions of content to each vendor? Where does the “single source of truth” live after the information has been pulled from your collection site? Set up a single database (which can simply be an Excel spreadsheet) and make sure everyone is using that to track and manage all changes.

Bonus tip: If you can minimize the number of vendors you’re working with for each of your outputs, it also makes this task a lot easier to manage.

We have more tips for you! So if you want to make your next collection a little easier to manage, let’s talk. We’d be happy to help.

Collection: It’s Not Just for Abstracts Anymore

You may know that Omnipress can handle collection for your event. Maybe you even use us for abstract collection already and you also work in an industry that places a high importance on poster sessions.

Did you know that Omnipress can collect posters, too? In fact, we have been collecting posters for many years (Our collection system has been used for other purposes as well, including nominations for awards and even board members).

Poster collection will feel familiar to those who have used Omnipress for abstract management. The four components of the process—collection, review, management, and distribution—remain the same. Submitters, reviewers, and association staff will all get to work with a system that has an easy, intuitive interface with the customer support you’ve come to expect from Omnipress.

We remain flexible with file types and sizes, though often associations will give an exact size, or specify a maximum size, for printed posters. Assigning reviewers to submissions is up to you—posters can be manually assigned by association staff or automatically by topic or track. Scoring criteria can be written and built into the system to guide reviewers.

The association staff members we’ve worked with find the administrative portal of the online collection to be streamlined and easy to manage. In addition to communicating with submitters and reviewers using an on-board email system, association professionals can use the system to schedule the event and collect final posters, disclosures, and releases.

And the best part is, poster collection is just the beginning. Check out the blog later this week, when we’ll feature information about poster printing and access to online posters that you can (gasp!) actually read. To learn more now, visit the Posters page of the new Omnipress.com.

Is Your Abstract Collection System Really that Rigid?

How would you describe your online system for collecting abstracts, reviews and final presentations?

A. It’s as flexible as my yoga instructor!

B. It’s as stiff as a board!

C. Does collecting via my email count as an online system?

Managing Abstracts and Final Presentations is Easy-Peasy

If you answered A:
Congratulations! Collecting abstracts, final presentations and managing your reviewers and submissions should make your life easier. It should
be adaptable to your process, not the other way around.

An Online Collection System That Doesn’t Bend

If you answered B:
Are you compromising your collection and reviewing process because your system isn’t flexible enough?

  • Are you using two or more systems because you can’t find one to take care of the whole job?
  • Are you limited to certain types of fields you’re using to collect materials?
  • Are you not able to stagger deadlines for different types of submissions?
  • Are you not able to communicate with authors and organize their materials easily?
  • Are you not able to export the data you want, when you want it?
  • Are you getting nickeled and dimed for customized programming?

Guess what? Your abstract system doesn’t need to be this rigid. A truly robust system for collecting and managing you call for papers and review process will be flexible enough to adapt to your unique process (without you having to be the flexible one).

Your online collection and review system should help you collect, organize, review and produce:

  • Abstracts
  • Proposals
  • Final papers and manuscripts
  • Disclosures and copyright releases
  • Session handouts and presentations
  • Speaker information, photos and biographies
  • A/V information
  • Session scheduling

Using Email to Manage Your Collection Process?

If you answered C:

You may want to read this article: Email to Collect Final Presentations… Really?

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