NSSDC has supported the Fourth and Fifth International World Wide Web (WWW) Conferences by applying its Electronic Management System (EMS) methodology to automate the conference's peer review process. Generally, EMS is a WWW-based front-end to access information stored in an Oracle data base with a hierarchy of process steps in a hypertext menu structure that breaks down a complex set of processes into a manageable step-by-step list of operations. Application-specific EMSs have been developed at NSSDC. An EMS was developed at NSSDC for the International WWW Conference Committee (IW3C2) and was used by that committee's staff for the following conference activities:
An overview of the system can be seen in the following figure:
The approach taken in developing this system extends the electronic peer review process in several ways. First, the development of the entire system required little or no programming. Second, this is the first totally Web-based approach for managing the complete peer review process.
The paper review and evaluation cycles have benefited. Using the Web, technical reviewers had access to papers in real-time and reduced delays previously experienced using paper transmittals. In addition, the internal management process was simpler and faster because of the electronic interface to evaluation forms and the generation of reports from the on-line information.
Access to the electronic management system via a WWW Internet interface is restricted to the WWW5 Technical Program Committee personnel responsible for conference process.
The electronic system proved to be a more efficient way to conduct business. As a result of some lessons learned, it will be improved for the next round.