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Conference Tools for 2020 TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition
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Submit An Abstract
Propose A Symposium
Presenter/Author Tools
Organizer/Editor Tools
Symposium Organizers


How to Propose a Symposium |Back to Help|

To propose a symposium, it is first necessary to log into ProgramMaster. If you have not used ProgramMaster before, you will first need to register on ProgramMaster. Registration is free.

Once you are logged in, the process of proposing a symposium is as follows:

  1. Click the "Propose a Symposium" link from the Main Menu.
  2. You will see a list of conferences for which symposia proposals are currently being accepted. Click on the conference to which you plan to submit a symposium proposal.
  3. You will be presented with the Symposium Proposal Form. Complete this form in full. (Detailed instructions concerning what to include in each field are presented on the form.) You will note that some baseline information for the symposium is already in place (e.g., maximum abstract length, deadlines, presentation duration). This information, presented in red, represents the default standards that have been set for the entire conference.
  4. If you are unsure as to how to complete a field, you may save the form and return at a later time to complete the remaining fields. You do this by clicking the "Save But Do Not Submit" button at the bottom of the Symposium Proposal Form. Saving the form in this way will help conference organizers know that a symposium is being planned on a particular subject, although a formal submission is still to come.
  5. Once you have completed all of the form fields and are satisfied with the content, click on the "Submit This Symposium" button. This will formally initiate the symposium proposal review process.
Completing the Proceedings Section of the Symposium Proposal Form |Back to Help|

When completing the Symposium Proposal Form, you will be asked to provide tentative information on what, if any, plans that you have for publishing the papers to be presented in the symposium. These plans will be communicated to authors during the abstract submission process.

It is important to note that the information submitted on the Symposium Proposal Form does not constitute a formal request to produce a proceedings publication in association with the symposium. Rather, it provides staff and organizers an early indication as to what kind of publications may be proposed for development. There are three possible avenues of action depending on the form of proceedings publication that would be proposed.

  1. If you propose a publication as a stand-alone proceedings (i.e., an at-meeting proceedings, a post-meeting proceedings), you must also complete the Proceedings Proposal Form, which you may access via the Main Menu. This form should be completed once you receive formal approval of your symposium for inclusion in the meeting.
  2. If you request publication in a journal, a review of your request will be conducted after the symposium is accepted for inclusion in the meeting. The journal editor will follow up accordingly.
  3. If you request an outside publication, consideration of the request will be performed by the Publications Coordinating Committee following approval of the symposium for inclusion in the meeting program.
E-Mail Notifications to Symposium Organizers |Back to Help|

Once you submit a symposium proposal, the system will automatically generate the following e-mail messages as situations dictate:

  1. An acknowledgement to you confirming your submission and recapping the essential elements of the symposium.
  2. An e-mail to the programming and publication staff, thereby triggering initiation of the symposium and proceedings (if relevant) approval processes.
  3. A notification of the symposium proposal being either accepted or rejected for inclusion in the meeting program. If the symposium proposal is
    • Accepted, the e-mail notification will provide you with a recap of the symposium details, inclusive of any changes that may have been made to your proposal as part of the approval process. Critical deadlines concerning the development of the symposium will be included as well. At the same time, ProgramMaster will be configured to begin accepting abstracts for this symposium as the session-building tool for the symposium will be enabled.
    • Rejected, the e-mail notification may contain additional information as to why the decision was made.
Once the symposium is opened for the collection of abstracts, the symposium organizers may receive the following messages from the system as specific milestones are achieved and based on these features being enabled by the conference organizers:
  1. A notification every time that a new abstract is submitted.
  2. A notification every time that an abstract is resubmitted if you had made acceptance contingent on modifications having been made.
  3. A reminder of the deadline date by which all abstracts must be reviewed (if you do not designate an abstract as "accepted" by the deadline date, the abstract will automatically be designated as "rejected" and the authors notified accordingly).
  4. A reminder to arrange the abstracts into sessions by a specific deadline.
  5. A notification of the tentative times and locations of the scheduled sessions after the conference gridding is completed.
Editing Your Symposium Proposal |Back to Help|

Once you click the "Submit This Symposium" button, the proposal form will be available for viewing only (through the "Organizer/Editor Tools" area of the Main Menu). It can be neither edited nor modified. If you must make a change to the information submitted, contact

Symposium Statuses |Back to Help|

Once your symposium is submitted, it will be assigned a status. This status is automatically updated as the symposium progresses through the various steps of the approval and conference organization process. The status of your symposium can be viewed by selecting "Organizer/Editor Tools " from the Main Menu. This same link will provide you access to the submission as well. The following statuses may be shown:

  • Saved But Not Submitted: You began to create a symposium proposal, but did not complete it. You have editing access to the proposal until the symposium submission deadline for the conference. If you do not formally submit the proposal by the deadline (by clicking the "Submit This Symposium" button), the conference organizers will not consider the symposium for inclusion in the meeting. You have viewing and editing access to this symposium summary.
  • Submitted: The symposium has been submitted but has yet to be approved by the conference organizers. If you wish, you may view the symposium summary, but you cannot edit it.
  • Open for Abstracts: The symposium has been accepted for inclusion in the meeting, and abstracts are actively being collected. You also have access to the session-building tool at this time. You can view a symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
  • Session Building: The symposium is no longer accepting abstracts, but session building is still in progress. You can view the symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
  • Open for Manuscripts: This symposium is actively collecting manuscripts for a proceedings publication. You can view a symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
  • Staff-Only Administration: No public activity concerning the symposium is underway. You can view a symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
  • Rejected: The conference organizers have decided that the proposed symposium cannot be included in the meeting. You can still view a symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
  • Cancelled: At some point, you decided that the symposium must be withdrawn from the meeting. This status can only be assigned by staff ( You can view a symposium summary with this status, but you cannot edit it.
Reviewing Abstracts |Back to Help|

As a symposium organizer, one of your key tasks within ProgramMaster is to review the abstracts that are submitted to the symposium. The system offers a number of tools to help you perform this function in a timely manner. "Timely," of course, is an operative term in ProgramMaster as an array of date-based triggers will dictate how long you have to review the abstracts submitted for your symposium.

When you receive the e-mail notification concerning the approval of your symposium, the symposium will be opened for the collection of abstracts, you will have the ability to review abstracts, and the session-building tool will be enabled. The message will also indicate a number of critical dates as they pertain to abstract submissions. These dates include --

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: After this date, the system will no longer accept new abstracts.
  • Arrangement of Sessions Deadline: This is the last day available for you to complete the organization of abstracts into sessions; the session-building tool becomes available for you to use on the same day that the symposium is opened to collect abstracts. Available for arrangement into sessions are abstracts with the statuses of --
    • Submitted
    • Accepted
    • Accepted if Modified

    Once this date passes --

    • Any abstract with the status of "submitted" that you have placed into a session will be automatically be redesignated as "accepted" and the authors notified of acceptance.
    • Any abstract with the status of "submitted" that you have not placed into a session will be automatically be redesignated as "rejected" and the authors notified of rejection.
    • Any abstract with the status of "accepted if modified" that you have placed into a session will remain with the status of "accepted if modified".
    • Any abstract with the status of "accepted" or "accepted if modified" that you have not placed into a session will require direct follow up to the authors from you or staff with a notification as to why the abstract had been originally accepted and subsequently rejected.
  • Modified Abstract Deadline: This is the last day available to an author to resubmit an abstract if you made acceptance of the abstract contingent on modifications being made.
  • Review of Abstracts Completed Deadline: After this date, any abstract that still has the status of "accepted if modified" will automatically be redesignated as "accepted" if you have already placed it in a session.

Every time a new abstract is submitted to your symposium, you will receive an e-mail notification that contains a summary of the submission. At this point, you may choose to either allow the abstract to stand by for assignment during the session-building process, or you can choose to give it a new designation in ProgramMaster. Note that you should not accept many abstracts until after you have been notified as to how many sessions you will be allocated in order to avoid overbooking. To assign a new status to an abstract in ProgramMaster:

  1. Log in.
  2. Click the "Organizer/Editor Tools" link.
  3. Find your symposium in the list presented and click the "Review Abstracts" link.
  4. Click on the abstract that you wish to review; note that the column headings are alphabetically sortable by clicking on the blue triangles of the "Abstract No.," "Abstract Title," "Submitter," "Type of Paper" and "Status" headings.
  5. Review the abstract and mark the abstract as either "Accepted," "Accepted if Modified" or "Rejected" based on the results of your review. Please note that you should provide the author constructive feedback on what changes you would require if you designate the abstract as "Accepted if Modified." The author and co-authors will receive an e-mail notification of your decision along with instructions on how to proceed.
  6. Assign a paper type (e.g., "invited", "keynote", "poster") if different than "contributed" or "student".
  7. Provide comments as appropriate back to the author in the field provided.
  8. Formalize the new status by clicking "Set New Status." This will trigger an e-mail notification to the author.

In reviewing the abstract, make sure the author plans to make a presentation that is both technically solid (solicit opinions from others if necessary) and compatible with the planned content of the symposium. Also, do not accept an abstract unless you are certain you will include it in a session; it is much easier (and fairer) to reject an abstract that still has the status of "submitted" as opposed to explaining to an "accepted" author why the opinion on the presentation has changed.

If you accept an abstract contingent on modifications being made, you will receive notification when the new version of the abstract is submitted. Review it prior to the final abstract deadline passing.

Note that until the session-building deadline passes or you mark an abstract as either "accepted" or "rejected," the submitter of the abstract has the opportunity to make additional changes to it. Therefore, do not use the e-mail notification of an abstract submission as your main reference point for the content of the submission. Rather, use ProgramMaster to view the most current version of the abstract.

The Session-Building Process |Back to Help|

At any point after your symposium is opened for the collection of abstracts, you can begin to assemble presentations into sessions. The original e-mail you receive regarding the acceptance of the symposium for inclusion in the conference program contains the date that you must complete session-building. Also, a few days before the session-building deadline, you will receive an e-mail as a reminder. It is recommended you wait to accept the abstracts until you know how many sessions will be allocated to your symposium.

Session building comprises the following activities:

  • Creating sessions to accommodate the accepted presentations.
  • Giving each session a title.
  • Assigning at least one session chair to each session.
  • Scheduling additional session elements (e.g., breaks, introductory comments, panel discussions).
  • Assigning a duration to each presentation.
  • Arranging presentations into a sequence within a 3-½ hour session. (You can extend the sessions up to 4 hours to compensate for possible cancellations.)

To begin the session-building process,

  • Log in.
  • Click the "Organizer/Editor Tools" link.
  • Find your symposium in the list presented and click the "Assemble Sessions" link.
  • From the resulting page, click "Create a New Session" to begin development of a new session. Or, if you have already built one or more sessions and wish to edit your earlier work, click on the "Edit Session 'x' " link.

The session-building interface comprises six core elements:

  1. Menu: During session building, the normal navigational menu that appears to the left of all ProgramMaster windows is replaced with a set of links that facilitate the creation of your session. When you exit the session-building site, the normal navigational menu will reappear.
  2. A Text Field to Name Your Session: Please give the session a descriptive title. If you add nothing, the generic designation of "Session I," "Session II," etc. will be employed, but it is not preferable.
  3. A Facility to Add Session Chairs: Click the "Add Chair" link to designate one or more individuals as session chair. Use the "Delete" link to remove a session chair. Use the pull-down menus to change the order of the chairs to be credited in program materials.
  4. A Generic Set of Session Elements: These are items that can be used to fill out your session beyond the presentations (e.g., breaks, question-and-answer periods and introductory comments). To add one of these items to the session, highlight the item, highlight a duration (shown in the scrolling menu in minutes), and click the "Add Item(s) into Session" button in the left-side menu.
  5. A List of Presentations Available for Scheduling: In a blue box is an inventory of every eligible presentation that has yet to be scheduled into a session. The presentations are listed alphabetically by paper title. Also shown are authors, paper type (e.g., contributed) and duration (in minutes). You can readjust the duration of the presentation by using the pull-down menu.
  6. The Session That You Are Building: In a red box, the items that you add to the session will appear. To add an item or multiple items, click the check box next to the presentation(s) in the blue list of available presentations, and click the "Add Item(s) into Session" link. The items will automatically appear in the red session box and disappear from the blue unscheduled inventory box. Removing an item from the red session box and returning it to the blue unscheduled inventory box can be accomplished by checking the box next to the subject presentation and clicking the "Remove Item(s) from Session" link. The same process can be used to remove individual or multiple session items (e.g. breaks, panel discussions).

Notes on the use of the session-building tool:

  • Within the red session box, use the pull-down menu on the left to resequence the flow of presentations and the pull-down menu on the right to assign different durations to individual items within the session.
  • As you add and subtract items from the session, a "recommended duration" counter will keep you apprised of how much time is customarily available for a session and how much time remains based on what you have scheduled. If you make a change in time but do not see the calculations automatically refresh themselves, click the "Refresh Calculations" button.
  • When you create a general session element (e.g., panel discussion or break), click on the "Details" link in the red session box to see a pop-up window with information about this item. Within the pop-up window, click the "Edit" button to enter greater detail about this session element.
  • If you elect to remove a general session element from the red session box, any detail that you have entered for this item will be lost. Therefore, it is best to delay adding details about general session elements until you are ready to finalize the composition of the session.
  • ProgramMaster does not automatically send an e-mail notification to session chairs that you identify during the course of building your sessions. You can, however, send them your own personalized notification by using the "Contact Authors" tool.
Contacting Symposium Participants With the Contact Authors Tool |Back to Help|

In addition to the auto-generated e-mails that ProgramMaster sends to authors and co-authors within a symposium, the system also allows organizers to engage in self-initiated contact with authors and co-authors on an as-required basis. To do this:

  • Log in.
  • Click the "Organizer/Editor Tools" link.
  • Find your symposium in the list presented, and click the "Contact Authors" link.
  • Complete the form presented. It will allow you to compose a plain-text message that can be directed to individual authors, all authors in a session (if the session has been built) or all authors in the symposium.
  • When sending a message by use of this interface, you will receive a copy of the message as will the Programming Department.
  • You may also use this interface to send a mass message to session chairs.



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