3 minutes read

Improve peer review with an online tool



When organising a research conference, the biggest headache often lies with the peer review stage. Technology to assist with the abstract management process wasn’t always as advanced as nowadays. Conference organisers and their admin team were required to manually collect submissions, check each submission complied with the formatting, reject if they did not comply, organise submissions into relevant topics, assign to reviewers with expertise in the field, manually send each reviewer their review pack with marking scheme, collect the completed reviews, read each review to ensure they complied with the marking scheme, organise the review scores, individually notify authors of their acceptance/rejection.

… *Exhale and breathe*.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired just thinking about it!


Anyway, so I’ve explained the traditional methods of abstract management and peer reviewing submissions for a research conference. Let’s take a look at how people in the industry can now enjoy the peer review process thanks to an online system.

Ready-to-Review Submissions

As I mentioned in the past admins would be required to check each submission to ensure they adhered to the guidelines before allocating them to reviewers. A peer review system requires authors to submit their abstracts/papers to the required format. For example if you are collected abstracts  and the word count is 500 words and supported documentation is required, the submission will not accepted if the author does not adhere to this. This avoids time reverting back to authors for missing material or for amends before the submission is accepted for peer review.

Reviewer Allocations

Once a reviewer is invited to the conference’s online abstract management system, they can include their field of expertise and using the smart algorithm the system will allocate abstracts/papers to the most suitable reviewer. Depending on your conference this can take hours to do manually. With just one click an online system will allocate all submission to your reviewers. You can tweak the allocation before you send to your reviewers.

Easy-to-follow Marking Scheme

Having an online marking scheme forces the reviewers to follow a process and ensures each paper is reviewed fairly and consistently. As mentioned traditional methods meant the conference organisers would need to double check all reviews to ensure the marking scheme was adhered to. But hey, there’s no need to worry about this with an online system. Imagine having 500 submissions and double checking all the reviews – I know, I can’t either! Using an online system greatly improves the quality of reviews as each single submission is marked exactly in accordance to the making scheme. This is because reviewers are forced to insert their scores into a set marking scheme widget before they can mark their reviews as complete.

Peer Review on-the-go

Reviewers are volunteers that give their time up for the greater good of the research community. Making their lives as easy as possible is important. An online abstract management system means you are always connected. Thus, your reviewers can access their allocated abstracts or papers anywhere they go! Let’s say a reviewer is travelling and wishes to complete reviews but doesn’t want the weight of bringing printed out documents. They now simply log in to their system account and complete their reviews anywhere with a wifi connection! Similarly it is important to adapt to all needs; reviewers should be able to review offline. Most online abstract management systems, such as Ex Ordo, will offer reviewers an option to download their assigned abstracts or papers so they can complete them offline and later input the scores online.


Ex Ordo aim to assist researchers by developing software to improve research conferences. Our Online Abstract Management System is an all-in-one platform that allows conferences to collect, review and accept/reject submissions. Plus register conference delegates, all in one integrated system. Book a live demo to see the power of Ex Ordo in action.