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Web-based software for organizing international conferences

(click here to fill out an application to use Conference Maker)
(click here for a translation of this page in Serbo-Croatian by Jovana Milutinovich)
(click here for a translation of this page in French by Anna Chekovsky)

Conference Maker is web-based software designed originally for the Econometric Society to simplify the job of creating programs for international conferences. Program Chairs no longer have to "reinvent the wheel" and create their own database system or receive submissions by email or hard copy and have to work out some way to manage dozens, hundreds or even thousands of submissions. In Conference Maker submissions to international conferences are made electronically via a simple form/web page interface, resulting in a "paperless" submission process.

Conference Maker is a web-based interface to an "industrial strength" database that resides on specially equipped server computers that can handle extremely high volumes of submissions in short periods of time. Such bursts of submissions frequently occur when conference participants decide to wait until just before a submission deadline to submit their papers.

Over 625 international conferences have used Conference Maker since it was introduced in 2001, and to date, more than 150,000 submissions have been made to Conference Maker for these various conferences and over 290,000 people worldwide have used it (either to submit a paper to a conference, or to search/view conference papers remotely). For a list of current and past conferences that have used Conference Maker, click here.

Conference Maker allows a Program Chair (or several co-chairs) and their selected program committee to handle the submission process in a decentralized fashion. All members of the program committee can log in at any time via secure password protected accounts and can view all submissions online. Program committee members are assigned certain subsets of submissions (usually designated by the person making the submission, but with override authority by program commitee members) and can make accept/reject decisions by clicking a button. The program committee members have access to a simple interface for forming sessions, searching for discussants and session chairs, posting/updating the conference program to an automatically generated web page, and sending mass emails to arbitrarily selected subgroups of users (i.e. to all rejectees, all accepted authors, all session chairs, etc.).

The process starts when the Program Chair is given a Conference Maker account for the conference he/she is in charge of organizing. The software is located on secure, backed up server computers at Atlantech.online. To see the list of conferences that are current upcoming conferences that are using Conference Maker click on the link below

editorialexpress.com/conference

If you are a Program Chair for an Econometric Society meeting who is interested in using this software, contact The Econometric Society to get their authorization to use Conference Maker at no additional cost for your conference. Other societies and organizations have annual contracts that allow them unlimited use of Conference Maker to organize conferences that they sponsor.

If you wish to organize a non-Econometric Society conference using Conference Maker you should contact Conference Maker Support. There is a fee for providing backup services and 24/7 technical support to Program Committees and all submitters. This fee is $5 per submission up to a maximum charge of $1500 for conferences with 300 or more submissions. The amount due is payable after the conference ends. You can also choose to pre-pay a fixed $1000 fee in advance and pay no more than this amount regardless of number of submissions received. A final option is that you can use Conference Maker for free, but allow us to charge your submitters a $5 per submission fee to cover our costs of providing the service and 24/7 technical support. We do allow free use of Conference Maker for a single conference on a demo basis for societies or organizations considering using it on a continuing annual subscription fee arrangement, or for conferences in developing countries or for special causes. Contact Conference Maker support to see if your conference qualifies.

Note: there are extra one time charges for conferences that wish to have customized registration forms, or collect registration fees from submitters via Conference Maker. Contact John Rust for an estimate, but the one time setup/programming fee of $350 for these extra custom services that involve some custom programming to tailor a registration page to collect the precise items you wish to collect from attendees for purposes of running your conference (e.g. which meals, events they will choose, with fees dynamically computed based on choices made on the online regtistration form). The fee for online collection of registration fees depends on whether you have chosen your own payment processor. If you do not have one or do not want to bother, we can collect registration fees online via PayPal or credit card using our PayPal account but we charge a one time fee of $500 to cover our accounting and set up costs to do this. In addition, PayPal charges its own transaction fee that is about 3% for US based credit cards and up to 4.5% for foreign credit cards. Also not all credit cards are accepted by PayPal.

Once your conference maker account is created for your conference, uou will be emailed the exact location of a login screen and a login and password which you can subsequently change. Complete instructions on how to use the software are located on a help screen that you can view when you log in, but most users find the software completely self-explanatory. One of your first actions as Program Chair would be to select and enter your Program Committee and the details about the conference (i.e. dates/location of the conference, beginning and ending dates for submissions, etc.) through easy to use web forms. An administrative account can be created to allow the secretary or assistant to the Program Chair to do this if the Program Chair has an aversion to computers.

Once a Program Committee is in place, Conference Maker can be set to start accepting submissions. Anyone who has access to the web can submit a paper electronically via a simple interface. Submitters provide their name, email address, institutional affliation, an abstract (in ascii), and the title of the paper. The full text of the paper (in PDF or any acceptable format) can be uploaded directly or the submitter can enter a URL to their own (continually updated) version of the paper. You have the choice of what information and fields are mandatory for a valid submission and which are optional. The program chair has the choice of whether the conference should be run in "public mode" where everyone can see the identities of every other submitter, or in private (anonmymous) mode where only program committee members can view the identities of submitters and authors. There is also a "user-defined" privacy mode where each submitter can choose whether to make their submission and personal information public or private.

Conference Maker does not preclude Program Chairs from creating their own specialized web site containing travel/lodging information and other information about the conference. The main function of Conference Maker is to simplify the submission and decision process and to prevent Program Chairs from having to worry about these details so the program committee can focus on the important academic/scientific issues involved in forming the best possible program. All the details about capturing information, archiving it, backing it up, etc. are taken care of. The software is ideal for decentralized decision making by a program committee who may be spread over the world, and who are frequently mobile, travelling to other universities, etc. The program committee and registered users can access Conference Maker using any web browser with internet access. This allows a program committee can keep minute by minute tabs on the conference from wherever they may be are located.

Full technical support and backup is available on a 7 day per week and 24 hour basis. For further information or if you have other technical questions regarding the operation of Conference Maker contact support. or John Rust or fill out the application form to request/create a new Conference Maker for your conference.