Annual Conference Definitions

If we've forgotten a definition, or you feel something needs more clarification, email ddodd@acsp.org.

Conference and Participation Roles

  • Presenting Author - the author is listed first in the conference program who is actually presenting the paper at the conference. This person is typically the primary author, but in some cases, may be a secondary or co-author. With advance notice, the ACSP does its best to avoid scheduling conflicts for only the presenting authors.
  • Primary Author - the author who took the lead responsibility in preparing and writing the paper.
  • Co-Author - One of several additional authors on a paper who should be noted for their contributions but may or may not be in attendance at the session. The ACSP cannot adjust the schedule of presentation for a co-author.
  • Moderator - This individual "manages" the session by keeping track of time for the presentations and introducing each presenter. In most cases, the moderator is one of the presenters already scheduled in the session. One of the others presenters should track time while the moderator presents his/her own paper. This person acting in this simple role should not be confused with the discussant.
  • Discussant - This is an individual knowledgeable in the topic of the session that receives the papers prior to the conference and tries to summarize, synthesize and make compelling comments about each and all papers. Specific suggestions to each paper should probably not be made during the discussion period of the session but may occur individually between the discussant the author/presenter. Often times, the discussant is also asked to act as the moderator of the session. It is the decision of the track chair(s) whether or not to include a discussant as part of the session.
  • Roundtable Moderator - This individual is responsible for ensuring the flow of the roundtable discussion. S/he poses questions, asks follow-up questions, and seeks input from the audience.
  • Roundtable Organizer - This individual proposes a topic for the conference and seeks confirmation from participants for the roundtable prior to the abstract submission deadline. Note: organizers are partially responsible for making sure participants agreeing to participate are not already committed to another roundtable.
  • Pre-Organized Session Organizer - This person has a lot of responsibility. If you have an idea for a topic for an entire session, you may organize and entire session (typically 3-4 papers). You propose a session title, list all other participating authors and their paper titles, and identify a potential discussant. You must confirm permission of these other participants in advance; reminding them that their participation in this pre-organized session will preclude them from presenting an individual paper. The organizer is responsible for setting up the session in the abstract management system; however individual authors are responsible for submitting their own abstracts to the system.
  • Track Chair - An individual invited by the Conference Committee Chair who is given the responsibility for establishing a blind review team and reviewing the abstract submission for all abstracts within their topic. Track chairs organize individual papers into coherent sessions with a title and discussant.
  • Reviewer - Track chairs often share the task of reviewing abstracts with a set of individual reviewers. These people advise the track chair on whether an abstract submission should be accepted or rejected. The track chair makes the final determination.
  • The exhausted ACSP Staff and Conference Committee Chair - with tired, smiling faces, they solve the problems you didn't anticipate and are most important to you personally. Be nice to these people. With your patience and flexibility, most of the time they can intervene and solve any crisis.

Paper & Presentation Formats

  • Panel - Many use this word interchangeably for paper sessions as well as roundtables and so, for clarity, NO SUCH FORMAT EXISTS in the ACSP program using this word.
  • Pre-Organized Session - A set of papers organized before the abstract submission deadline covering a specific topic. Each of the papers within the pre-organized session is considered to be presented at the conference and is individually reviewed. A three-paper session may be assigned a 60 minute time slot. Four or more papers will be assigned a 90 minute time slot.
  • Pre-Organized Session Introduction Abstract - a pre-organized session organizer must submit an introduction abstract to describe the purpose and topic of the session. This is done to help the reviewers and track chairs understand the overall approach of the session. The introduction abstract does not appear on the final program and is not considered a paper to be presented. It is wise to suggest a discussant in the submission of this abstract and to include the names and contact information of each participating presenter.
  • Individual Paper - A paper presented at the conference that has been placed into a session organized by the track chair. An individual paper may have one or as many as eight co-authors. No less than three papers and no more than five papers will be included in one session. A threepaper session may be assigned a 60 minute time slot.
  • Roundtable - This is a planned discussion among a set of organized individuals about a particular topic. There are no papers presented during a roundtable discussion. The audience is welcome to participate. Roundtables may be placed in a 60 minute or 90 minute time slot.
  • Innovative Session - this is not a paper, but an entire session that doesn't fit into a paper, poster or roundtable session format. For example: a review of key books recently published, with the author presenting the topic of the book in a longer presentation and several reviewers providing comments. This may be assigned a 60 or 90 minute time slot.
  • Poster - a paper presented in a visual, stand alone format. The author need not be present for the paper to be "read' off the poster and understood. The poster authors are available during specified times in the program for Q & A.
  • Special Session a.k.a. Non-Reviewed Session - For lack of better wording, these sessions are commissioned by the ACSP leadership on a special topic, or are special topics presented by an ACSP committee or Interest Group. These sessions do not go through the review process.
  • Local Host Session - One of 4-6 sessions coordinated and proposed by the Local Host Committee on topics relevant to them or about the site city for the conference. These sessions do not go through the review process.
  • Meeting - A scheduled time during which members of an associated group (editorial board, committee, task force, interest group, etc.) gather to discuss the business of the group. Time slots for these meetings must be secured in advance through the conference manager's office as they are scheduled in and throughout the presentation schedule.
  • Mobile Workshop - A tour off-site of specific features, attributes, or notable planning issues in the local community. These are organized by the Local Host Committee.