EPS Conference Organization

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This page provides information for the Programme Committee (PC) and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics, to facilitate and streamline the organization of this annual conference held by the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society.

Time line

The conference is typically held in the last week of June or the first week of July.

Approx. date Actions Action owner
June-July preceding year created web site for conference, announce at Closing Ceremony LOC+ Board Chair
July preceding year web page for Forum open, url sent to community LOC+EPS chair
July-October preceding year Forum nominations for invited speakers Open to all
November-December (preceding year) Selection of invited speakers PC
January First announcement email LOC
January Invitation of invited speakers PC
February Abstract submission (2-week period) OCS
February during abstract submission: Second announcement email LOC
March PC meeting to decide program PC
April Abstract website ready OCS
April Author confirmation emails sent OCS
April-May Early registration deadline LOC
2 weeks before conference Paper submission (2-week period) OCS
At conference Inventory of non-presented posters LOC
After conference Paper website (proceedings) ready OCS
After conference Invited paper submission deadline PC
After conference Request Proceedings Volume code from EPS OCS
After conference Proceedings CD delivered to EPS for storage LOC
December PPCF Special Issue published IOP

Program Committee

The main task of the Program Committee is to establish the conference program. For this purpose, it celebrates several meetings in preparation for the conference (typically, at the conference site).

The Program Committee will adhere to an ethical code:

  • PC members cannot be Invited Speakers at the conference
  • PC members cannot be a presenting (main) author of an oral contribution
  • While PC members may propose talks by colleagues from the same group/institute/laboratory, they will make their relation to the proposed speaker clear to the other PC members (declaration of potential conflict of interest)
  • When voting on talk assignations involving a proposed speaker, PC members in the same group/institute/laboratory as the proposed speaker will refrain from participating in the vote

Conference program

The conference lasts one week (five days). Each day, the morning session is plenary, and the afternoon session is divided into 4 parallel oral sessions and a poster session. The 4 parallel sessions correspond to the 4 topical areas:

  • MCF: Magnetic Confinement Fusion
  • BPIF: Beam Plasmas and Inertial Fusion
  • LTDP: Low-Temperature and Dusty Plasmas
  • BAP: Basic and Astrophysics

Traditionally, Wednesday afternoon is kept free.

Combined sessions are can also be organized, ideally with a unifying topic.

Satellite conferences are typically held on the days following the main conference; the LOC will provide rooms for those.

November meeting

In November (or December) of the preceding year, the PC meets to establish the general program (emphasis, scope) and draw up a list of possible invited speakers. Previous to the meeting, there may have been a period in which EPS members could have presented (anonymous) suggestions for invited speakers ('open forum' web interface, provided by the LOC). The precise dates of the various phases (see time line above) will also be established.

It is important to have preparation work of the PC ahead of the meeting, so that an overall opinion of the PC members on the various proposed talks is already in place before discussion at the meeting. This work can take place within each PC subgroup for regular invited, with coordination by the sub-Chairs, but it should be across groups for the choice of plenaries, and therefore coordinated by the Chair. Also the discussion about the plenaries at the meeting should take place within the whole PC, whilst for regular invited it takes place within each sub-group separately.

As a rule, a specific speaker cannot be invited if he has already been an invited speaker in the preceding two conferences. This rule is meant to give up-and-coming talents a fair chance at being invited.

Usually, an IOP representative attends the meeting to discuss the PPCF special issue (procedure and cost). Representatives of the APS and JPS may attend this meeting and/or the March meeting.

March meeting

At the PC meeting in March, the PC will make the following decisions, based on the output from the OCS system (abstract pdf files and an Excel index file; see Section below on Submissions):

  • Discuss doubtful submissions
  • Reject unacceptable abstracts
  • Decide whether similar presentations should be joined in a single presentation
  • Decide which presentations will be orals (using the author’s Presentation Preference as a guide, and taking into account the review observations)
  • Elaborate the final conference program: mainly, the distribution of Invited/Plenary, Oral, and Poster presentations over the 5 conference days (the time schedule)
  • Appoint session leaders and referees for the Invited papers
  • Assign the final Conference ID to each abstract (I1.001, O2.015, P2.030, etc.).

Essentially, the outcome of the meeting is (a) the conference program and (b) the above-mentioned Excel file, with one column added for the Conference ID. The PC will communicate the latter to the OCS operator in order for him to elaborate the final abstract website.

June meeting

Immediately preceding the conference, a meeting will be held. At this meeting, last-minute program changes will be discussed and post-deadline slots will be allotted.

Local Conference Organization

Conference website

The LOC provides a website with information for conference participants. Ideally an initial web page will be ready at the end of the preceding conference, so people can know where and when the next conference will be.

Also, in the period from July (end of previous conference) to October there should be a link in the conference page to a webpage for people to submit proposals for invited speakers. It would be extremely helpful to the PC if the LOC can automatically generate a database (confidential, only visible to PC members) of all proposals received, with entries for proposed speaker, affiliation, proponent, title of proposed talk, rationale and abstract.

Eventually, the web site should contain, at least:

  • The list of Committee Members
  • The list of Invited Speakers (after winter PC and Board meeting, usually December)
  • The Conference program (after the PC March meeting). It is strongly recommended to maintain an up-to-date "master copy" of the program, which is edited and used by the PC, OCS, LOC webmaster and eventually in the printed program leaflets.
  • Important dates
  • Instructions for authors (for the preparation of abstracts/papers, oral presentations, and posters).
    • All abstracts (Invited, Oral, and Poster contributions) are to be submitted via the OCS system
    • Only 4-page papers corresponding to Oral and Poster contributions should be submitted via the OCS system
    • It should be stated clearly that (long) Invited Papers are not to be submitted via the OCS system, but directly to PPCF
  • Links to the OCS abstract/paper submission system
  • Links to the registration system
  • Information on accommodation
  • Information on local transport

Some foreigners may need official 'letters of invitation' in order to apply for a travel visa at the embassy in their home country. The LOC should provide these, if needed, well ahead of the conference.

Budget

Each year's budget usually takes the preceding year's accounts as a starting point. The goal of the budget is twofold: (a) to keep the registration fee as low as possible, while (b) achieving a close balance between expenses and revenue. A part of the budget is reserved to subsidize the conference fee of participants with scarce resources.

Expenses

The main expense items are:

Description Comment Fraction of total (%, 2013 numbers)
Renting of conference centre Plenary room, parallel session rooms, poster area, several small meeting rooms, equipment (sound, projectors, computers, WIFI); poster boards 22 (rather modest venue at university campus)
Refreshments, coffee breaks etc. Provided by catering service 30 (incl. lunches)
Registration and hotel reservation Delegated to external company 9
Publication of invited papers in a Special Issue of PPCF Handled by IOP 0 (no printed copies)

Revenue

Revenue is obtained from various sources. The main source of revenue is the registration fee (see list below). Further income may be obtained from support by local government and sponsoring by local companies.

Fee types, in order of decreasing amount:

  • Non EPS members
  • EPS Members
  • Students
  • Accompanying persons (this fee only covers social activities such as the reception)

Fees typically vary according to the time of registration: the fee is reduced for early registration. Fees apply to all conference participants (including Invited speakers). The typical number of participants in this conference is around 600. The European Physical Society may have bilateral agreements with other national societies regarding conference fees, so that members of these national societies may be entitled to the reduced 'EPS Members' fee. The LOC should check this with EPS.

Registration

Conference registration is handled independently from the submission of abstracts and papers. Registration implies payment of:

  • The registration fee
  • Optional fees associated with the conference dinner, excursions, and other items
  • The cost associated with hotel reservation (if required)

It may be convenient to have registrants provide their 'Conference ID', i.e., the conference code of their abstract. That will allow linking registrations to contributions and checking whether abstract submitters will actually attend the conference.

Registration statistics

Category EPS/ICPP
2012
Stockholm
EPS
2013
Espoo
EPS
2014
Berlin
EPS
2015
Lisbon
Regular, early 460 372 xx 362
Regular, late 96 83 xx 124
Regular, on-site 32 3 xx 4
Student, early 135 112 xx 128
Student, late 29 20 xx 32
Student, on-site 3 - xx -
Waived 26 16 xx 10
Total 781 606 xx 650
Accompanying person 78 33 xx 34

Local organization

Apart from the items mentioned in the budget above, local organization (responsibilities of the LOC, congress bureau and the venue) involves:

  • Conference material for conference participants: usually, a bag with:
    • a printed list of contribution titles and an author list; and/or a USB stick with a copy of the abstract website
    • information about the conference, the venue (a map), and the various EPS awards
    • touristic information, information about restaurants, city map
    • notepad and pen
  • Possible smartphone app of the conference
  • On-site registration desk, including:
    • conference material pick-up
    • help desk
  • Sign boards (indicating the conference location and the location of the various meeting rooms, etc.)
  • Poster boards, poster identification labels, poster attachment materials
  • Computer connection facilities, WIFI
  • Assistance personnel (microphones in meeting rooms, presentation computers) - often students
  • Tables, chairs, clocks for session chairpersons (a good system to time the talks is necessary, preferably with visible alarms as the allotted time for the talk has nearly run out)
  • Pointers, water for speakers
  • Lunch facilities
  • Social program
  • Photography
  • Communications
    • Possibly an advertisement poster to be distributed before opening the registration and abstract submission
    • Email announcements to potential (previous years's / registered) participants
    • Email accounts for the LOC and PC. It is recommended to prepare standard answers to frequent questions like:
      • "Can I be exempt from the registration fee?"
      • "Can you send me an invitation letter for visa application / institute etc.?"
      • "Could I send an updated version of by abstract?"
    • Update event calendars of the fusion community and organizing institutes
    • Prepare a press release
    • Interaction with the EFDA/Consortium PI team (e.g. distribution of "Fusion in Europe" newsletter to the participants)

Submissions

Various different types of conference contributions are distinguished:

  • Invited contributions (both Plenary and ordinary), delivered as a talk with duration of approx. 35 or 30 minutes, respectively
  • Oral contributions, delivered as a talk with a duration of approx. 15 minutes
  • Poster contributions

The talk durations include some time for questions (typically 3-5 minutes), and may vary slightly per conference. Each contribution corresponds to a single presentation, i.e., oral and invited talks do not get a corresponding poster space (as is done at some other conferences).

All conference contributors will need to submit an abstract well before the conference (see timeline above). Shortly before the conference, Oral and Poster contributors will need to submit a 4-page paper (invited papers are handled separately, see below). Currently, these submissions are all handled by the Online Conference System at low cost.

Contribution rules

Any given author may present only one contribution as first author. However, he/she may appear as secondary author on as many contributions as needed. The reason for this rule is to allow students and junior staff a fair opportunity to present their work in their own name.

Invited and Oral speakers are not allowed presenting a poster as well (in line with the rule of one contribution per main author). The reason for this rule is not to draw attention away from poster contributions that presented only in the poster session, considering that oral presentations already receive much attention.

Abstract submission

Submissions of all abstracts (corresponding to Invited, Oral, and Poster contributions) are currently handled by the Online Conference System. No email submissions are admitted. The system sends out an automatic confirmation email message after each submission.

Once submissions are complete, the OCS operator will attempt to correct mistakes (repeated submissions, erroneous submission formats, ...) and prepare files for the March PC Meeting (abstract pdf files, an Excel index file).

Late (only special cases) and post-deadline submissions are handled via email (by the PC). Acceptable post-deadline contributions should satisfy some minimal requirements regarding significance, immediacy and/or novelty, as established by the PC.

Conference ID

In the PC March meeting, the PC will assign a Conference ID to each abstract. Traditionally, the Conference ID has the following structure: XY.nnn, where

  • X = a letter: I, O, or P for Invited, Oral, or Poster
  • Y = a number: 1...5 for Monday...Friday
  • nnn = a sequence number

Other numbering schemes are possible, e.g., replacing nnn by mnn, where m = 1...4 indicates each of the four main topics (MCF, BPIF, DLTP, BA).

Abstract website

After the PC March meeting, the OCS operator will

  • send out semi-automatic confirmation email messages to the contributors, informing them of the acceptance of their abstract, their Conference ID, and providing additional relevant conference information (provided by the LOC);
  • elaborate the final abstract website on the basis of the set of Conference IDs produced by the PC.

This abstract website (sometimes referred to as the 'book of abstracts', although it ceased being a book long ago) is linked to from the LOC's website. It may also be provided to the conference participants as part of the conference material (e.g., on a USB stick).

Paper submission

4-page papers

Submissions of 4-page papers (corresponding to Oral and Poster contributions) are currently handled by the Online Conference System. When submitting their papers, the contributors must provide their Conference ID. Unlike the abstracts (refereed by the PC), the 4-page papers are not refereed. However, only contributions that have actually been presented at the conference are eligible for publication in the conference Proceedings. This requires the LOC to make a list of empty poster boards at the conference, in order to be able to remove submitted 4-page papers that were not presented. Based on this information, the final paper website (or 'proceedings') will be elaborated by the OCS operator, after the conference.

Invited papers

Invited papers, with a length of 8 (ordinary invited) or 12 (plenary invited) pages, are not submitted via the OCS system, but directly to the journal in which they will be published (a special issue of Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion). They will be subjected to the usual refereeing process of the journal (although the referees are determined by the PC, generally from among the PC members and invited speakers, to speed up the refereeing process). The cost of publication is borne by the conference - subject to negociation with PPCF.

Abstract and paper statistics

Year Conference Submitted abstracts Of which: invited 4-page papers
2010 37th EPS, Dublin, Ireland 808 80 513
2011 38th EPS, Strasbourg, France 712 75 472
2012 39th EPS - 16th ICPP, Stockholm, Sweden 960 90 516
2013 40th EPS, Espoo, Finland 681 84 420
2014 41st EPS, Berlin, Germany 740 80 440
2015 42nd EPS, Lisbon, Portugal 737 78 386
2016 43rd EPS, Leuven, Belgium 643 85

Additional material and ideas

  • High quality EPS conference logo template: PDF vector format; PNG format
  • Logo of the European Physical Society PDF vector format
  • Shared documents between PC, LOC and OCS (Excel or Word type documents) can be handled efficiently on-line using e.g. Google Docs.
  • The form interface for the 'Open Forum' (proposals of invited speakers) can be handled easily using Google Forms.
  • Oral presentations can be broadcast live using video streaming.
  • Presentations and posters can be provided for download on the LOC's website (given authorization by the author).
  • A Conference App for mobile phones can be provided, instead of a printed program (this was done for the first time at the 41st EPS in Berlin).