The UXPA Boston annual conference grew from humble beginnings. Thirteen years ago, we were happy to just find enough presenters for the event at MathWorks. Now, we must sift through over a hundred submissions. In 2012, to ensure a fair submission process, we implemented a blind-review procedure. For those who may be curious, we’d like to tell you how our process works.
The first step, obviously, is soliciting submissions. That’s the easy part – our community is so full of great thought-leaders that finding interesting presentations has not been a problem for quite some time. Once the open submission window is closed, we “sanitize” them. UXPA Boston board member volunteers review each submission to ensure that they do not contain personally identifiable information.
The next step is to gather reviews of each submission from our reviewer volunteers. We aim to have each submission reviewed by at least three reviewers and up to five. It’s not a perfect process, but we try our best to ensure that as many submissions as possible receive between three and five blind reviews.
Each submission gets a score up to 10 points: up to 5 from the overall accept/reject score and up to 5 from other questions asked of the reviewers. These ask whether the submission will be interesting to attendees, is important to our field, etc.
The conference committee, which is a group of volunteers from the UXPA board of directors, makes the final decisions to accept/reject submissions. We use the review scores as a starting point, but also read most of the reviews and submissions ourselves. We do our best to select submissions with high overall proposal quality that cover a breadth of topics of interest to practitioners at different stages of their career.
In the end, our goal is to put together a conference that not only has something for everybody, but also incorporates a fair peer-review process. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the submission committee if you have any questions about the process or the conference itself. And thank you to all of the submitters and reviewers – without you, there would be no conference!
For those who are interested in numbers, for the 2014 conference, we had 135 submissions and 54 volunteer reviewers to help us select 28 talks for our one day conference. All but two of these submissions were reviewed by at least 3 reviewers.