Annual Convention Submission Review Process
Submissions to the Annual Convention go through a long review process before the program is made public. When users submit a proposal, they choose a first and, optionally, a second section to review the proposal in order. The conference "theme" is one of the available "sections" users can select. Reviews start when SPCs receive access to their "First Priority" proposals as designated by the submitters. Here, sections review the items that were submitted to their section and begin crafting panels out of those proposals. Proposals to the theme are reviewed in the same way but by the program chairs directly who act as section chairs for the theme. After about two weeks, sections receive access to their "Second Priority" proposals. This results in multiple sections being able to review the proposals at once. Once a proposal is put into a panel (or when a submitted panel is sponsored), it is removed from the pool of available items. After about two more weeks, the remaining proposals are made available to all of the sections. This tiered process is done to best reflect the wishes of the submitter as well as the broader interest in putting together the best program possible. The work from the sections usually ends around mid to late July.
When the section chairs finish their work, they "submit" their sponsored panels to the program chairs for placement on the program. The program chairs are ultimately responsible for the program and, on occasion, make changes to the panels sections recommend. The program chairs then place most of the sponsored panels on to the program, paying attention for scheduling conflicts, over-participation, and special requests. To create a "buffer" of back-up panels, sections usually sponsor one or two more panels then those that will fit in their allocation on the program. In turn, the program chairs typically place panels in the order the section chairs recommend. This panel placement and review process takes place from late July to mid-August.
By late August, the program is mostly assembled and complete, and the process of auditing and review begins. Here, sections review their sponsored items and give comments to the program chairs on any changes they would like to make. Likewise, the program chairs watch for people being placed on the program too many times and begin fixing formatting issues in the printed program. This gets us ready to send out our acceptance notices in mid-September.
Of course, the program work does not stop then. Throughout the fall, for a variety of reasons people may withdraw from their conference participation. As they do, the sections and program chairs work together to fill "holes" on the program by using papers from the wait-list. A paper that did not make it on to the program during the summer might very well find a place during the fall. Like all other steps in the process, however, these placements are made by the program chairs, usually following recommendations from the sections sponsoring the affected items.