Archive Extension for Postponed Meetings

Normally in ProposalSpace calls are automatically archived by the system one year after activation. But things aren’t exactly normal right now, so we’ve decided to extend that period for a year.

The extension applies to calls activated January 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 with a submission deadline on or after January 1, 2020.

For example, let’s say you activated your call January 1, 2020 and originally had a submission deadline of April 1, 2020, but you needed to extend the deadline a year to April 1, 2021. Normally the system would not allow you to accept submissions after December 31, 2020 because that’s when it would automatically archive the call. Now, however, the system won’t archive the call until December 31, 2021, giving you plenty of time (hopefully) to extend the deadline.

Hopefully this change will allow meetings that had to be postponed enough time to keep their calls open without having to pay for an extension. If you’ve had to extend your deadline by more than a year, please let us know and we’ll be happy to work something out.

Also, note that this change only affects calls that are automatically archived. You can still manually archive a call any time you like.

Stay safe and healthy.

New Feature: Late Submissions

Good news, call administrators: You no longer have to re-open a call just to create a late submission. Now, even if your call’s submission deadline has passed, you will continue to see it on the Start a Proposal page.

A few important notes:

  1. Only you and your fellow administrators can see the call on the Start a Proposal page. If you want to allow a non-administrator to start a proposal, you will need to re-open the call.
  2. The call will remain listed on the Start a Proposal page until it is archived.
  3. Proposals you create are attached to your account. If you want to create a proposal on behalf of someone else, you will need to add that person to the proposal so that he/she can have access to it.
  4. Proposals you create after the submission deadline has passed will still need to be approved for review.

Why a Hard Deadline Is Better Than a Soft Deadline  

We argued previously that a soft deadline for submissions is better than a hard deadline. Now we’re going to argue the opposite: that a hard deadline can be preferable to a soft deadline. We’re not doing this to confuse you, we’re just trying to point out that each has its own benefits and that your choice should depend entirely on your own unique situation.

Unlike a soft deadline, which is nothing more than an initial target for authors to shoot for, a hard deadline is the absolute final date and time you will accept submissions. You always have the option of accepting late submissions on a case-by-case basis, but as a general rule, authors who miss a hard deadline are out of luck—at least until the next call.

A hard deadline is better than a soft deadline because:

  • It avoids confusion. You can publish one deadline and authors won’t have to figure out if it has passed or been extended.
  • It forces authors to budget their time for unforeseen problems, which can lead to earlier submissions.
  • It shows you mean business. A hard deadline lets authors know that you are serious about the organization and planning of the conference.
  • It lowers your stress. Once the deadline has passed you no longer have to worry about submissions.

The key to a hard deadline, of course, is that you never extend it. Otherwise, you’ve just created a soft deadline.

Also, when setting a hard deadline, be painfully precise about the exact date and time of the deadline. It’s true for any deadline, but especially true for hard deadlines: include a time—and time zone—along with the date. And if you’re going to set your deadline for noon or midnight, don’t use “a.m.” and “p.m.”.

Why a Soft Deadline Is Better Than a Hard Deadline  

One of the most basic decisions about any call is whether to set a soft or hard deadline for submissions. Unlike a hard deadline, which is carved in stone, a soft deadline provides authors with a target date to submit their work, with the understanding that the deadline will be extended.

A soft deadline is better than a hard deadline because:

  • Authors get a date to budget their time for, while also getting a cushion in case of unforeseen problems.
  • You can get a gauge of the quantity and quality of submissions and fine-tune the call if needed.
  • The extension can be used to promote the call to authors who may have missed it the first time.

A soft deadline is set under the assumption that you will eventually extend it, so don’t forget to budget for the additional time. Also, soft deadlines work best when you don’t publicize the fact that they are soft deadlines. People often produce their best work when crunched for time, so don’t ruin your authors’ creative edge by hinting the deadline will be extended.

Lastly, don’t confuse a soft deadline with accepting late submissions on a case-by-case basis. A soft deadline should be applied to everyone equally, regardless of their circumstances. If you’re leaning instead toward accepting late submissions on a case-by-case basis, be sure you have clear criteria in place for determining which submissions qualify for an extension. (But that’s a topic for another post.)

BTW, a soft deadline may not be best for every situation. To see if that might be the case for you, check out our post on why a hard deadline is better than a soft deadline.