A thorough abstract review process has plenty of crannies—multiple rounds of review, communication with reviewers, several interfacing systems or databases—where inefficiencies can hide. When we developed OpenWater, we knew that technology could streamline every stage of the abstract management process. But if technology has the answer, where’s the hold-up coming from?
Let’s imagine a fictional abstract review scenario being run by an administrator in a trade association—we’ll call him Jerry. A few snags in Jerry’s review process can illustrate the advantages and efficiency of the software he’s using. For the sake of familiarity, we’ll say it’s OpenWater. Thanks for your business, Jerry.
Here are the advantages he’s found over the last three years:
BEFORE: Jerry’s reviewers used to skim for relevant details.
Years ago, the association would send a call for abstracts via email with attached submission guidelines, and what they’d get back in the reply was anyone’s guess. Jerry’s abstract review team had to sort through email chains and attachments in a variety of formats (and file types). Sure, there were specific criteria listed in the instructions, but sometimes things were overlooked or interpreted broadly.
NOW: Each submission is in the same relevant format.
The review goes much more quickly now that the reviewers have only the information they’re evaluating, all upfront, in identical formats. Jerry’s customized submission form ensures that all submissions contain the same info, feeding every element his reviewers need (and nothing they don’t) right into their online review portal. The details that don’t impact review are automatically hidden because his abstract management software can mark them as blind fields for reviewers.
BEFORE: Jerry got incomplete and ineligible abstract submissions.
The abstract review process was a lot slower when Jerry’s reviewers had to follow up with presenters for additions, revisions, and to ask clarifying questions. This was frustrating because they always found it harder to get in touch with presenters after their proposals were already submitted.
NOW: OpenWater verifies everything first.
One of Jerry’s favorite features of OpenWater is its ability to validate fields and check for the eligibility of each presenter’s abstract submission before it gets to the reviewers. OpenWater reminds presenters about empty fields or points out details that don’t match submission expectations, before submission, so reviewers won’t have to follow up.
And when Jerry’s reviewers do have questions to ask, OpenWater has built-in messaging that lets reviewers quickly contact individual presenters right from the abstract management system.
BEFORE: The review team put time into every submission—even weaker ones.
It always seemed like it would be easier and faster if weaker abstracts could be thinned out quickly, reserving the rigorous review process for the top half of submissions. This is one of the reasons Jerry’s team suggested he look at abstract management software.
NOW: They have OpenWater’s auto-scoring system to help.
The OpenWater software can automatically grade abstracts on basic criteria (set by Jerry) and only send the most qualified ones forward for Jerry’s team to review.
Jerry’s Team Keeps Finding New Ways to Save Time
OpenWater solved the association’s significant concerns and streamlined their biggest pain points, but what has surprised them most is that it keeps on giving.
- In the first year, everyone was immediately excited about the OpenWater template system that stored their custom review program—especially since they’d be able to automatically reuse it next year without reinventing the wheel.
- Last year, they discovered that OpenWater could enable and store large media uploads. They started allowing graphical and video abstracts, which helped reviewers grasp the gist of the presentation quicker.
- This year, the review team has buzzed about OpenWater’s mobile-friendly review portal. For many of Jerry’s reviewers, the abstract review process is a supplemental responsibility—not their day job—and they’ve enjoyed the freedom of evaluating conference abstracts when and where they have a few free moments.
At every turn, their abstract management software has created a new way to streamline the association’s review process. Book a demo to learn how OpenWater can do the same for you.