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Running & Staffing Your Proceedings Office & Other Important Roles

Speaker: Christine Petit-Jean-Genaz (CERN)

Volker Schaa and David Button have given excellent presentations on Running and Staffing a Proceedings Office at the past two Team Meetings. In particular see:

TM'16: https://www.jacow.org/JTM2016/RunningtheEditingOfficeandProcessingofPapers by Volker Schaa Proceedings of TM'15 TUC2A01 by David Button

See also:

The presentation prepared via this wiki page concentrates on the organization rather than the technical side of activities covered in the presentations/publications mentioned above.


The person responsible for the Scientific Secretariat of a JACoW event (who may or may not also be wearing the hat of Editor-in-Chief), will have been assisting the OC/SPC throughout the preparation of the scientific programme, coordinating with the LOC, and will have been the interface between the conference scientific programme organization, the local organizing committee and the contributors. This person will know the scientific programme, the authors, the number of contributions to be processed, and consequently how to plan for the editorial effort. If there will also be an Editor-in-Chief, then these two persons must work seamlessly together with the IT Manager in the planning of the proceedings production for the final publication to run smoothly.

Pre-conference Planning

The Scientific Secretariat, Editor-in-Chief and IT Manager prepare for the final proceedings production, in consultation if necessary with the LOC and SPC Chairs, respectively concerning budget and proceedings scientific content. They work together throughout the planning within the LOC and decide/organize (based on annual JACoW team meeting debriefs and specifications of previous events, and having participated at other JACoW events):

  • Specifications, ordering, testing and installing soft- and hardware at lab and venue
  • The layouts of rooms, the furniture and stationary to be provided at the venue for the Proceedings Office, Author Reception, Speaker Ready Office
  • The staff needed during the conference for the various tasks
  • Hotel accommodation and per diem, in consultation of the LOC Chair concerning budget
  • Welcome dinner pre-cont. Saturday night (budget allowing)
  • Invitations to social events


The staff involved in the scientific programme management and proceedings production prior to and during the conference are the:

  • Scientific Secretariat
  • Editor in Chief
  • IT Support
  • Core Editors
  • Editors
  • Presentations Managers
  • Poster Session Managers
  • Author Reception
  • Technical Staff on Stage, Timing of Talks ...

The people to fulfil these roles should be decided and invited approximately 5 months in advance of the conference following some informal contacts prior to this.

How many staff doing what?

Old semi-scientific calculation (a more scientific one was produced by Jan Chrin at an earlier Team Meeting):

  • The number of papers to be processed will be approximately 80% of the number of contributions submitted on abstract submission
  • 80% of the 80% needs to be processed during 3 days pre-conference processing by the "core" team
  • estimate an average of 35 papers per day per experienced editor during pre-conference processing

An example with 1000 contributions:

  • 80% of 1000 - 800 contributions to process in total
  • 80% of 800 - 640 papers to be processed in 3 days
  • 640 divided by 3 days = 213 papers to be processed per day
  • 213 divided by 35 (average number of papers per editor) = around 6 pre-conference editors for pre-conference processing

Six is thus the lower basic number of experienced "core" editors to achieve 80% of the pre-conference processing. This probably does not include the Scientific Secretariat or Editor-in-Chief since they at this time are more occupied in organisational responsibilities.

Double this number at least for the conference week to take into consideration QA, and all of the other tasks. It is particularly critical for the larger events with for example 1500 to 2000 contributions in the SPS, to have a larger team to allow for hiccups, IT problems, and a breather for the "core" and other editors.

IPAC in recent years with a final number of processed papers between 1200 and 1500 has had approximately:

  • 6 IT - some moving within Presentations Management and Processing as well as IT problem solving
  • 10 Core Editors - including the SS/Editor-in-Chief
  • 10 Editors - including processing of transparencies
  • 3 Presentations Management
  • 2 Poster Session Managers (perhaps with other responsibilities in parallel)
  • 3 Author Reception

Approximately 30 individuals have thus consistently succeeded in achieving pre-press publication at lunchtime on the last day of the conference, with final publication 2 to 3 weeks later.

Useful Overview of Staff/Costs

Prepare a Spreadsheet grouping staff by activity: core editor, editor, presentations management, etc. based on numbers above and enter for each person:

  • name, e-mail address and JACoW responsibility (future conference editor, etc.)
  • arrival and departure dates at venue (different teams arriving and departing on different dates)
  • hotel accommodation, number of nights
  • per diem cost to the conference for the number of nights
  • work start and end dates: number of processing days
  • cost to conference for hotel and per diem

Timeline Approach in Days running up to Conference

  • C-6 days: IT support staff arrive at venue
  • C-5 days: IT support staff set up network, computers, etc.
  • C-5 days: Midnight deadline for upload of papers
  • C-5 days: Core editors arrive at venue
  • C-4 days: Core editors decide criteria and level of "pickiness" re. formatting of papers and references, author lists, depending on number of papers to be processed. It is advisable to decide on this, and not to vary such that problems do not arise at the level of quality assurance
  • C-2 days: Arrival of remaining staff, and staff dinner if budget allows
  • C-1 day: Sunday, 10 a.m. full team in place at venue, introductions, visit and then:
    • All newly arrived editing staff assigned work stations
    • Core and novice editors review objectives (pickiness)
    • Core editors pair with the newcomers they will mentor
    • Author Reception prepares office, filing, organization, etc.
    • Presentations Management/training, chasing up the speakers during the opening sessions
    • Poster Managers/training and organization, using the app developed by Ivan and Stefano
    • IT Managers continue setting up, and gradually undertake their other duties, if any

Timelines and Activities during Conference

From the first to the last day, the general basic activities are IT problem solving, editing papers, presentations management, poster session management, author reception. At the same time, the Scientific Secretariat/Editor-in-Chief carefully follow and expedite the activities that keep the proceedings teams on track:

  • ensure there is a reasonable number of papers to be processed by the novices learning their new trade
  • gradually assign core editors to quality assurance (QA)
  • run the scripts which extract SPMS entries (titles and co-authors) and the top half of the pdf files of processed papers
  • author reception compares the above, and updates SPMS
  • poster session managers
    • up to morning coffee break: assist authors in posting their posters, find alternative panels when one presenter has several posters to present when not scheduled together ("presenter" information not accurate at the time of programme code assignment)
    • during the poster session: enter into SPMS via the special app the information concerning: poster posted, poster manned, poster of adequate quality - these three flags must be set to OK for the publication script to "promote" the entry to "publishable"
  • carefully monitor the status of yellow dot papers: check each day for author comments on processed papers, possible additional editing requests, and as necessary manually switch from yellow to green so that QA can go forward
  • monitor (via Volker's scripts) the pdf papers produced by editors where errors in page setup and embedded fonts can be corrected immediately
  • regularly check with "experts" that all activities are on track
  • monitor the progress of each editor (via the SPMS big brother Activity Log)
  • monitor statistics:
    • number of papers processed per day per editor (too fast, too slow ...)
    • number of papers processed, progress with respect to objectives, if necessary reduce level of "pickiness" where no danger of jeopardising overall quality
      ** number of red/yellow/green dots and need to push yellow to green, take action on reds - attempt to fix, or send back to author

Anything that is not finished during the conference has to be managed by the Scientific Secretariat or Editor-in-Chief afterwards. It is worth pulling out all of the stops during the conference, ensuring there are enough staff to do the job, and avoid running into problems that will inevitably arise if the objectives are not met.

With the above actively followed during the conference week it is be possible to publish pre-press towards the end of the final morning and prepare the statistics (extracted from SPMS) for the SPC Chair/JACoW Scientific Secretariat or Editor-in-Chief to announce to the participants during the closing session