It can be cumbersome and frustrating to manage hundreds of papers in your inbox coming in for review from authors around the world. Authors are sending in their abstracts; you have to gather them, set them up for review, schedule sessions, generate abstract books, communicate with authors and reviewers, and more.
Abstracts need to be distributed to reviewers for review and discussion. But with several authors, their abstracts and proposals on varying topics, the management of these abstracts can become muddled up.
That is where abstract management software comes in. Abstract management software can help you sort out your work by streamlining participating authors’ submission, review assignment, discussion, and authentication of abstracts.
However, many options are available for conference abstract management software in the tech-driven age. So, which one do you choose for your next conference?
Here are the top 10 features you should look for before committing to an abstract management software.
Hire an IT expert or take it for a trial run yourself but ensure that the software you choose for your next academic event has most of these features for the best and most efficient abstract submission experience.
1. Efficient Submissions Management
Managing several submissions simultaneously is a tough task. And there will be multiple submissions during a conference. Keeping track of abstract submission to supplementary documents, graphics, PDFs, and other required stuff can be impossible if a proper system is unavailable.
The abstract management software you choose should have the ability to collect submissions, download multiple files simultaneously, modify submission forms, and for the judicial process to take place smoothly. If the Abstract Submission and Management software doesn’t have an efficient system for this, you might want to move on to the next one.
2. Personalized Communication With Each Participant
There are several participants in an abstract review session, like authors, judges, staff members, and others. You will often have to contact them via email. Each message must be customized for the recipient. Does your current abstract management software make this feasible?
The best abstract management software should make it a click away to send personalized messages to individuals and target groups. Even better, if you can keep all data and marketing and outreach emails accumulated in one central location.
3. Integration With Other Systems
When planning an online academic conference, abstract submission is not the only aspect needed. Several systems must be implemented, from confirming attendees to registration, fee collection, content and data sharing, communication, and more. Most conference organizers will have systems and other software in place to do that.
The abstract management software you choose now should integrate with already-existing digital solutions. A low-quality, native software will not integrate with other systems as it won’t migrate the data to the cloud in time. Hybrid cloud integration is on the rise, and your next conference abstract management software must have this feature fully developed.
4. Flexibility And Customization
The conferences you arrange will have different requirements and will be structured differently. Not every online event will have the same details as the other one. So, the abstract management software should deal with variety and be customizable.
You should be able to configure and customize how the abstract will be submitted, file forms acceptable, how attendees will fill in their information, if they need to copy and paste the abstract or write it, the presentation format, who will be able to participate and how, who will be able to review, how many reviews are allowed, and several more details.
Ideally, the abstract management software should automatically provide suggestions regarding assigning papers to authors for the reviewing process.
This flexible customization ability is also needed because as your organization grows and more events are held, customization for multiple events will become inevitable.
5. Data Analytics, Mining, And Data Validation
The information your software collects on all attendees, participants, and reviewers like names, contact, submissions, and other details are all important data. This data needs to be stored and analyzed in your system for future events. Abstract management software that can bring out insights by analyzing collected data should be the one you choose for a virtual conference.
One more significant aspect of data is that you need data validation. When conference participants attend events online, you can’t check an invitation card individually. They will fill in their details via an online submission form. And it is highly inefficient to check those details and confirm them manually.
So, for peak management, the conference abstract management software should have the feature to automatically validate and confirm the details of the attendees. It should also spot and correct information, like if small letters are used where capitalized letters are used. Without data-efficient software, you won’t be able to conduct a streamlined event.
6. Tools For Creating Reports and Sending Notifications
The Abstract Management Software should have tools in-built to generate reports of any data field present in your system. Reports are essential in the decision-making process, and the software should have the report-building capacity through data visualization.
Reports could be generated based on name, type of file or abstract submission, group, field, etc. These reports should be easily generated, ready to print, trackable, and shareable with the click of a button.
Ideally, the abstract management software should also help you stay up to date about the current events and what’s going on in the world of academic conferences. It could send you notifications, daily or weekly, about the new abstract submission and who submitted it, an overview or summary of all the abstracts, and other important notifications.
This would allow you to get the main points about significant information via a few notifications at a glance.
7. Easy To Use Dashboard
Authors, Professors, and academics are busy people. They won’t have the time to go through extensive login and abstract submission processes. Your abstract management software should be wary of the time limitations of these people. The software should have the smoothest login process possible.
Instead of having to go through the complete steps each time, the user should have quick access to previously uploaded documents so they can come back and edit easily. They should also return to the unfinished draft of the submission and complete it later with ease. This will save precious time for the entire team.
8. Channels For Automated Communication
There will be several different participants in any conference or online event, including judges, staff members, reviewers, authors, organizers, the scientific committee, and even some students. There is a different level and kind of communication with each group of participants. Not everyone is communicated with in the same manner.
The conference abstract management software should contain the features to personalize messages for different groups of attendees. Being able to send emails right from the system should be a part of the software.
The communication and messages should also be automated to remind the submitters of the approaching deadlines, the reviewers that they have to be done with their checks within a certain period, inform them about upcoming sessions, and more. It is better to do this in an automated environment and don’t have to compile a message every time you have to send it.
Customized messages are also great for marketing, promotion, and outreach. For example, you could send special messages to sponsors and organizers via the software.
It would help if you also controlled who can communicate with each other and any private channels that some groups are not privy to. Abstract management software with a well-built communication feature will help you keep all conversations centralized and updated for data collection.
9. Session Building Tools
The software should have the tools to let the session organizers schedule sessions.
The session building features should include the ability to add multiple sessions in bulk, enter speakers and moderators information, upload speaker slides, set continuing education credits for each session, option to enable virtual meetings, and it would add even more value if you could auto-populate the abstracts into each respective session.
Make sure your abstract management software has the access control tools to keep a check on permissions so there is restriction on the sessions a participant can access. Along with that, it should have real-time conflict management system to let you know if a particular speaker is already to another session at the same time.
10. Easy To Learn with a Supportive Staff
Several organizations will avoid bringing on new abstract management software so they don’t have to deal with a steep learning curve. Next, the software you choose should not require extensive technical knowledge or coding to run it. It should be manageable by an ordinary team member as well.
It should have a smooth user experience and be easy to navigate. The users are already burdened with organizing and handling a huge conference online; they shouldn’t have to be overwhelmed with learning about the software over months. The users must be able to concentrate on the conference itself.
Even if a certain amount of training is required, it should be provided by efficient staff and done quickly.
If there are some complex systems in the software, there should be a supportive staff and dedicated members to help you pan out the situation. They should learn and absorb your event requirements, campaigns, and agendas quickly and set up the conference as desired by you.
Staff and team members are a necessary feature of the software package to ensure a seamless experience with the software.
Abstract management software can be a great tool and asset for your organization if you choose the correct one. It can be a liability, too, if not selected with the right features. So, take notes from this list of features to ensure you make the right decision.
Share this with other academic event organizers and comment with your tips on choosing a conference software.