Who’s involved in running a conference?

2 minute read

There’s a great deal of preparation and planning involved in organising a conference. Once the authors have submitted their paper, the number of people involved in putting the pieces of the jigsaw together all the way to the conference day can vary.

In this blog, I’ll give you an insight into how Ex Ordo deals with the roles and responsibilities of the various committees and chairs in a typical research conference.

Owner/Overall Chair

The owner of the conference has the most powerful role within the system. They have the authority to do pretty much everything from deciding when to open submissions, to customising answers specific to their conference, to allocating reviews.

As well as this, they can contact anyone within the system through a communication centre.


Assistants have an almost identical role to owners/chairs, in that they have the ability to modify settings, edit submissions, send messages, etc. The only distinct difference between the two is that if you use the “[[ChairNames]]” macro in an email it would list the chairs, but not the assistants.

Track Chairs

A track is a term for bigger conferences that are separated into several thematic areas and have dedicated chairs and program committees for each track. So as you can imagine, track chairs are responsible for the specific track they are allocated to. Within their track, they have the licence to contact reviewers and authors as well as the ability to amend submissions on their track. However, they don’t have the authority to do any of this outside of their tracks.

Review Groups

In larger conferences, it can prove a daunting task for any one individual to be in charge of the entire reviewing process. Conferences with more than 100 submissions can struggle if one person is responsible for recruiting reviewers, assigning reviewers and encouraging reviewers to submit their reviews. Review groups assist conference chairs by managing the peer review process to individual review group chairs.

organising a conference

A review group chair is responsible for:

  1. Inviting reviewers.
  2. Allocating reviewers to submissions.
  3. Re-assigning declined reviews to other reviewers.
  4. Reminding reviewers to complete their reviews.
  5. Submitting a final recommendation/report for each submission.



After the Ex Ordo system has allocated submissions abstracts to the reviewers based on these common topic areas. Reviewers are required to provide written, unbiased feedback based on technical merit, readability, relevance, originality and format, etc. It is important for reviewers to avoid personal comments or criticism and restrain from disclosing information with third parties about the reviewed papers.