One of the things that has been keeping me busy in recent weeks is a whole lot of organizing work with regard to the National Tax Association's 106th Annual Meeting, which will take place between November 21 and 23 of this year in Tampa. Tracy Gordon and I are the program co-chairs, and our tasks include deciding which submitted papers and proposed sessions to accept for the conference, and which to reject.
It's baked into the cards or dealt into the cake (whichever deliberately mixed metaphor you prefer) that we have to reject a whole lot of papers, because the conference has limited capacity. You can only have 3 or 4 papers per session, and there are only so many sessions that we are able to schedule. Only so many time slots, and only so many rooms available per time slot. But we have tried to err on the side of being inclusive, even though there are downsides to this (e.g., less time to discuss each paper in a session if we have 4 papers rather than 3, audiences more spread-out if we have as many as 7 simultaneous sessions). In some cases, people with multiple interesting paper submissions may find that we accepted only one, although the others looked just as good, because of our budget constraint and our eagerness to let more people participate.
We had aimed to get the word out to everyone by June 30, but this proved impossible for several reasons. For one, even once we had a preliminary list of papers that we wanted to accept, they have to be organized into panels, and sometimes shoehorning a bunch of things into the same panel when they are on totally distinct topics is rather difficult. We wanted the sessions to be as coherent as possible, but on the other hand we didn't want to ding particular authors, or interesting papers, just because it was hard to fit them in. We also had to call in the cavalry, which came through for us but this took time, to see if we could get a couple of more rooms for extra panels, thus slightly relaxing our budget constraint.
Anyway, the bottom line, at least for now, is that we should be sending out all of our accept / reject emails later today. If you had at least one paper accepted, you get the "Accept" email even if we had to reject the others. Email recipients will be invited to log on to the website (which they had to do upfront in order to submit their papers) in order to see which paper or papers were accepted and what sessions they are on.
The sessions, by the way, don't have time slots yet - that will be among the next stages in our three-dimensional cooperative chess game as program chairs.
Another of our upcoming tasks is to recruit discussants for the accepted papers. While we'll be doing outreach on this, potentially interested individuals should let either or both of us know.
Anyway, I just wanted to let any readers of this blog who are waiting for the submission outcome know that we are just about there, so you should know within the next few hours unless the task of sending out all the emails takes longer than we are anticipating.
UPDATE: Conceivably, at least some of the emails may not go out until Monday. Not only is it a big task, but we're trying to make sure there are no mistakes or oversights in dealing with a large list of papers.