Call for Reviewers

Reviewers play a crucial role in building the conference programme. Becoming a reviewer is a great way to:

  • contribute your time and knowledge back to the community.
  • challenge yourself to assess the strengths and weaknesses of submissions objectively to facilitate the selection of submissions and provide constructive feedback.

The assessments provided by reviewers are invaluable to the conference programme team. In previous years the review process has put significant strain on a small number of individuals due to a lack of volunteers. We continue to strive for a large team of reviewers that represents the rich diversity of skills, experience levels and career stages in the research software community. This will allow us to build a conference programme that reflects the real interests of our community.

Whatever your previous experience in performing peer review, please consider signing up as a reviewer for RSECon24, and contributing a few hours to help.

As a reviewer, you will receive a combination of submissions for talks, panels, workshops, walkthroughs and/or posters. Reviews can be completed in your own time, through a simple online platform. Each submission will contain an abstract and several additional fields related to their submission type, and we will give you guidance to help you reach a decision. We expect each abstract you are assigned to take between 5-15 minutes to review. This is a double blind process; you will not see author details and authors will not see your identity. We are aware that circumstances (e.g. prominent software/projects) may limit author anonymity, therefore if you feel unable to complete an impartial review, we can reallocate the submission. A minimum of two reviewers will be assigned per submission. The combination of your decision with that of your co-reviewer/s will inform the programme committee’s selection of submissions that are accepted by the conference. We fully expect to see divergence between reviewers; opinions from all members of the community are valid and welcome.

Last year, for RSECon23, we had a shortage of reviewers. This year, we want to make this process as transparent as possible and encourage more of you to get involved! On April 19th we are hosting a webinar to outline the submission and review processes. During the webinar, we will show you the platform we are using to handle submissions (Oxford Abstracts), and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. If you would like to come to the webinar, register your details to receive the Zoom joining instructions. A recording of the webinar will be made available after the event. Attendance is optional.


In summary, for the review process, we (conference committee) have the following responsibilities to you (reviewer):

  • Guidance: We will provide you with guidance on how to review submissions, and be available to assist with any questions during the review period.
  • Communication: We will provide communications:
    • about review deadlines, including a reminder email on day 10 of the review period (May 20th).
    • if we require additional help - we may ask if you’re able to complete more reviews, but we understand if that’s not possible.
  • Pragmatism/Realism: We acknowledge you are volunteering your time for free, and will not apply undue pressure to complete your allocation of reviews if circumstances arise that prevent you from doing so. We ask that you inform us promptly if you will be unable to complete your reviews in time.
  • Assessment: We will
    • moderate the review comments before they are passed to the submission authors.
    • take your reviews into account when deciding which submissions are accepted into the conference programme.
  • Data Management and Privacy: We use professional academic conference software (oxfordabstracts.com) to handle our abstract management and reviews. This platform provides a simple and clean interface to complete your reviews, and facilitates the double blind review process. This ensures that authors of submissions and reviews are anonymous to each other, however identifying information may be found in other free text fields such as a submission’s abstract.

As a reviewer:

  • Availability: You will indicate how many reviews you have time to complete within the review period of May 10th - 24th.
  • Communication: You will notify the programme team of any reviews you feel unable to complete, e.g. due to a conflict of interest or personal workload.
  • Appraisal: You will:
    • give reasonable and professional consideration to each review.
    • evaluate the suitability of the proposal for the requested submission type and length.
    • provide an acceptance/rejection decision, with justification.
    • provide constructive feedback to the submission authors.

As always, if you have any questions about signing up to review, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Thank you for considering becoming a reviewer!

Last Modified: 2024-06-14 16:21:53