Papers How it works (current) Configuration Fields Versions Terms

Papers is an online system that lets authors submit abstracts and papers for academic journals and conferences - with comprehensive peer review, editing and administration facilities available to the organisers.

System overview

The Papers system is a website based on the Drupal 7 open source Content Management System (CMS) As such, it can be configured easily to add information pages about your conference or journal, eg to tell users about the conference and provide downloadable templates for abstracts and papers.

A Papers website can either by hosted by phdcc, eg at, or you can host it yourself, eg at or at PHDCC can help install the system on your site, but you had best be familiar with Drupal and LAMP hosting - more details below.

A Papers website has some information that is available to any viewer. However authors, reviewers, editors and admin staff must each register as a Drupal user to access the control panel. Admin staff need to give reviewers etc the necessary role access rights.

All subsequent activity starts in the Control Panel with different views available for authors and reviewers etc. The Control Panel gives a summary of each submitted abstract or paper - click on each link to see the full details. Buttons are available, if appropriate, if let you submit new abstracts, papers or reviews.

The Admin staff Control Panel has global settings that specify whether abstracts and/or full papers/short papers are currently being accepted. When Admin staff view an abstract or paper, they can set the paper status, ie move the paper onto the next stage of the process, eg "Paper with reviewers for first review" which sends an email to all assigned reviewers and lets them enter reviews.

Author submission process

The Control Panel for Authors lets you make submissions (if enabled) and see the status of your submissions.

If abstracts are being accepted, you can submit one or more abstracts. Complete the abstract fields listed here. When your abstract is successfully submitted, you will receive an email that contains a summary of your submission along with a paper id number that is used to identify your abstract and a subsequent paper. Back at the Control Panel, you should see your abstract with status "Abstract submitted".

You will receive an email when your abstract is accepted or rejected. If accepted, you can then log in to the Papers Control Panel and submit a Full Paper, providing the fields listed here. You will receive an email if your submission has been received successfully.

In due course, you should receive an email saying whether your paper has been accepted or rejected - or if revisions are requested or mandatory. You can log in at the Control Panel to view reviewers' comments; you can then submit a revised paper and optionally a file with a response to any review comments; subsequently you will receive a final email informing you if your revised paper has been accepted.

Note that an editor may have provided an edited version of your paper, eg changing the layout or wording to meet the organisation's standards. You can view this edited version at the Control Panel.

If short papers can be submitted, then you can complete the form with the fields listed here. Again, you will receive a submission email with the paper id - and receive an email when your short paper has been accepted or rejected.

Council member control panel

A "Council Member" user can see all submitted abstracts, anonymised if required. Each council member can vote on each abstract with one of the following options: Accept, Reject, Unsure, Abstain. They can leave comments and indicate if they would be wiling to review the final paper.

Reviewer control panel

One or more users with "Reviewer" role can be assigned by Admin staff to review each full paper or short paper.

If you have been assigned to review a paper, you will see it listed in your control panel. Depending on the status of the paper, you can now enter a first or second stage review. You can see the review(s) that you have entered. You cannot delete a review that you have submitted - if need be, you can ask Admin to delete your review so you can do it again.

A full paper first stage review has these options, along with an optional comments box:

  • Accept
  • Reject
  • Revisions recommended
  • Revisions mandatory

A full paper second stage review and a short paper review has these options, along with an optional comments box:

  • Accept
  • Reject

Associate editor control panel

Each paper can have one assigned associate editor for the first review stage. An Associate editor has the same facilities as a paper reviewer, additionally being able to see the other reviews so as to make a final recommendation.

Editor control panel

If you are an editor, you can see all full and short papers. You can submit a revised paper.

Editorial committee control panel

A member of the editorial committee can see all paper and reviews. However they cannot make changes to a paper status; instead they must inform Admin staff who can do this.

Admin control panel

A secretariat admin user has access to all submitted information, can set various global options, and download all information. An admin user typically moves papers onto the next stage of the process, eg by assigning reviewers and setting the paper status. An admin user can also see a complete log of activities for each paper.

An admin user cannot enter reviews, but can delete them.

Admin global options

  • Tick the "Accepting abstracts" box if you are accepting abstracts
  • Tick the "Accepting papers" box if you are accepting full and short papers
  • Click on the "Download all information" to download a ZIP file containing all the project data, ie the submitted files, a CSV file containing the information about each abstract/paper, and an anonymised CSB file containing the abstract score summary.

TO DO: add "start new conference" option, ie to delete all existing data.

Paper statuses

The following statuses can be set for a paper. Note that authors do not see the internal process statuses.

  • Abstract submitted
  • Abstract awaiting scoring
  • Abstract rejected
  • Abstract accepted
  • Paper submitted
  • Paper with reviewers for first review
  • Paper with editorial committee
  • Revisions recommended
  • Revisions mandatory
  • Paper with reviewers for second review
  • Paper rejected
  • Paper accepted

When a status is set, various emails are sent automatically to the appropriate recipients, eg to the reviewers, all the editorial committee or to the author. See here for details of the email templates.

Emails are also sent to the user after any successful submission; note that the user email is not necessarily the same as the abstract/paper author email.
All emails are copied to the Admin staff.

Technical overview

A Papers website runs in a standard Drupal 7 environment, ie it needs PHP, MySQL and a Apache server or similar. The site must be configurable to send emails. A private directory for submitted files is preferred. A secure site with SSL certificate is recommended.