Scaling of Roles Tasks and Resources vs Conference Size

Contact: Todd Satogata (Jefferson Lab)

ECRIS has about 60 participants, IBIC has about 250, and IPAC has about 1500. Not all teams are built equal, but are built to the size of the task ahead of them! JACoW has many member conferences of many different subject areas and thus different sizes. This talk aim to show examples of different size conferences and the considerations which are made in the condensing of roles, the size of the teams involved, typical budget implications, and aspects of SPMS and other tools used to organize and run the conference.

A Tale of Four Conferences/Workshops

Conference/WorkshopNDelegatesNPapersNTalksNJACoW
COOL'159047553
BIW'1214086322
HB'161911201105?
NA-PAC'1352046913214
IPAC'151200122011432
IPAC'16116012689829

Here I discuss experiences with the bold italic conferences/workshops.

I also discuss some general editing labor scaling estimates.

COOL'15 (small workshop)

  1. Small workshop series often has semi-continuous program committee
  2. SPC/chair can organize scientific program with or without SPMS (COOL'15 done via email by Y. Zhang)
  3. Online registration and payment can be done with or without SPMS (e.g. with lab mechanisms)
  4. SPMS sometimes not even needed until open abstract submission
  5. JACoW representative can wear many hats depending on local support

Evelyn Akers (JLab), Volker Schaa, and I were the entirety of the JACoW team.

This team performed all JACoW functions for COOL'15, including

  • SPMS configuration
  • talk and paper processing
  • presentations management and support; IT support

Some support from JLab staff services for registration, logistics organization.

Held at Jefferson Lab so significant "built-in" support (IT, dining, local accommodations).

A small, communicative, well-organized team can effectively run a small workshop.

  • It is best if some members have organized similar meetings before.
    • Many tasks, much multitasking: easy for inexperienced personnel to overlook items
    • Keeping team on task can be challenging, particularly when meeting held in lab/workplace
  • Must make prompt delivery of proceedings a priority; these are the easiest proceedings to let "lax"
    • Particularly if pre-press proceedings seen as good enough

BIW'12 (smallish workshop)

  1. Smallish workshop series still often has semi-continuous program committee
  2. SPC/chair can organize scientific program with or without SPMS (BIW'12 done via email by K. Jordan)
  3. Online registration and payment can be done with or without SPMS (e.g. with lab mechanisms)
    • Starting to get to territory where SPMS is very useful to keep program organized
  4. JACoW representative still wears quite a few hats depending on local support

Joe Chew (LBNL) and I were the entirety of the JACoW team.

This team performed all JACoW functions for BIW'12, including

  • SPMS configuration; abstract booklet production
  • talk and paper processing
  • presentations management and support; IT support

Some support from JLab staff services for registration, logistics organization.

Held at hotel so significant LOC pre-planning required (room blocks, meeting space, food, bags, etc)

A somewhat larger, communicative, well-organized team can effectively run a smallish workshop.

  • Getting into regime where professional experience is tremendously beneficial:
    • Hotel, meeting room, and logistics arrangements
    • Improved documentation of meeting logistics (travel, visas, etc)
    • Many tasks, much multitasking: very easy for inexperienced personnel to overlook items
    • Keeping team on task during workshop easier when separated from daily work areas
  • A semi-optimal sweet spot for rapid proceedings publication if there is enough support to permit editorial team to focus on only papers and talks.

NA-PAC'13 (medium to large conference)

  1. Larger workshops require organized SPC meetings, use of SPMS to track full scientific program
  2. Risk of LOC/SPC disengagement; Scientific secretariat should become engaged with all SPC/LOC activities (PCO used in PAC'13)
  3. Online registration and payment should be done with SPMS, including additional forms
  4. SPMS becomes critical to keeping program and paper/talk processing organized
    • Poster and industrial session design can make or break conference
  5. Start to require dedicated roles (lead editor; presentations management; poster management; etc)

The JACoW Team at NA-PAC'13 had 14 members (about 8 primarily editors, 6 primarily other roles), requiring substantial organizational effort.

This team had members dedicated to specific roles for the conference, including

  • Scientific Secretariat (Christine and I shared the role)
  • talk and paper processing; author reception
  • presentations management and support; IT support

Support from PCO (Centennial) for registration, conference logistics.

Held at hotel far removed from daily work areas. Pre-conference paper processing.

Effort scaling: 55-65 papers/editor (not counting talks/QA), *1.75 for total team.

Team must be efficient, organized, and well-run for a conference of this size.

  • Here professional experience is tremendously beneficial: PCO or lab professional organizer
    • Hotel, meeting room, and logistics arrangements
    • Improved documentation of meeting logistics (travel, visas, etc)
    • Many tasks, some multitasking, larger team: very easy for inexperienced personnel to overlook items
    • Keeping team on task during conference is straightforward; start to worry about burnout
  • Speed of proceedings delivery depends greatly on team efficiency, focus on detail. Maintain some time post-conference to complete proceedings without remainder of team support.

IPAC'15 (large conference)

  1. Organized SPC meetings, use of SPMS to track full scientific program
  2. Likely LOC/SPC disengagement; Scientific secretariat must become engaged with all SPC/LOC activities
  3. Online registration and payment must be done with SPMS, including additional forms
    • SPMS mechanisms, including author email, critical for proper poster session layout
  4. Require dedicated roles (lead editor; presentations management; poster management; etc)

The JACoW Team at IPAC'15 had 32 members (about 18 primarily editors, 14 primarily other roles), requiring large organizational effort.

This team had members dedicated to specific roles for the conference, including

  • Scientific Secretariat
  • talk and paper processing; author reception
  • presentations management and support; IT support

Effort scaling: 55-65 papers/editor (not counting talks/QA), *1.75 for total team.

Team must be efficient, organized, and well-run for a conference of this size.

  • Here professional experience is required: PCO or lab professional organizer
    • Hotel, meeting room, and logistics arrangements
    • Improved documentation of meeting logistics (travel, visas, etc)
    • Many tasks, large team; trivial for inexperienced personnel to overlook/miscommunicate items
    • Keeping team on task during conference is straightforward; worry about burnout
  • Speed of proceedings delivery depends greatly on team efficiency, focus on detail.

Personnel Scales

ConferenceSci ProgramLOCJACoW TeamAuthor RecepStudent Program
SmallInformal2-41-2No (email)No
SmallishInformal to SPMS3-52-4Kinda (support staff)Minimal
MediumSPMS5-1010-15YesYes
LargeSPMS10-1520-35YesYes

Editorial Effort and Speed

  • Historical paper processing speed varies widely
    • Experience, familiarity with tools
    • Level of detail requested by conference editor
    • Level of detail enforced by paper editor
    • Average difficulty of processing at particular conference
  • Large team average in above conferences is about 55-65 papers processed
    • Does not include talk processing, QA process, other support roles
    • Estimated team size 1.75*(npaper/60)
  • Small team average in above conferences is also about 55-65 papers processed
    • Increased efficiency balanced by increased responsibilities to perform other roles
    • Estimated smaller team size: (npaper/60)