SER Processes

Process by which SER symposia, concurrent contributed sessions, and poster presentations are determined by Society.


  • SER sends an email in mid-July with a call for symposium proposals. Due mid-September of respective year.
  • Proposals are reviewed and ranked by SER executive board members (President, Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, and four Members at Large) in preparation for the Fall SER board meeting. Then a consensus is reached in person at the Fall SER board meeting regarding which symposia are selected. The board tries to keep a balance of topics and institutional representation. Review criteria include:
    1. Session topic (significance, innovation, impact, appropriateness for SER audience);
    2. Expertise and appropriateness of the moderator;
    3. Indication of whether speakers have committed to participating in symposium;
    4. Whether prospective moderator has served previously (an effort is made to give other members a chance);
    5. Career stage of the moderator (in some circumstances, an effort is made to pair junior and senior epidemiologists as chairs in a single session);
    6. Evidence of consistent SER membership in the last 5 years.
  • In 2018, 57 proposals were submitted and 21 were accepted (37%).
  • Starting in 2019, there will be a maximum of 2 symposium presentations allowed per SER member. The rationale for the cap is to provide opportunities for more SER members to plan and participate in symposia, and to encourage a broader range of symposium topics.

Concurrent Contributed and Poster Sessions:

  • SER announces abstract submission system is open in late Fall. Deadline is usually in mid-January.
  • Process by which volunteer peer-reviewers identified: at the time of membership registration every year, members have the option to check if they are interested in serving as an abstract reviewer. An email is sent to these volunteers to identify their areas of expertise to review (no limit on number of areas). A reviewer sign-up link is also included on the website, which current members can access.
  • An email is sent out in November regarding a call for abstracts, which includes a link for volunteering to review the abstracts.
  • In late January, abstracts are peer-reviewed by all SER members who volunteer.
  • Abstracts that score below an agreed upon value (varies each year and depends on space constraints at meeting site) are retained for selection by Selection Chairs.
  • Between the fall board meeting and the time the abstracts are reviewed, a spreadsheet requesting nominations for Session Chairs for the CCS is sent to SER executive board members.
  • Board members submit their nominations in a “blinded” fashion to Executive Director.
  • The nominations are then compiled and summarized across executive board members, and the final selection of Session Chairs is made by the SER president based on the following criteria:
    1. Expertise and appropriateness of the chair to lead CCS on topical area;
    2. Whether prospective chair has served as Session chairs previously (an effort is made to give other members a chance);
    3. Career stage of the session chairs (in some circumstances, an effort is made to pair junior and senior epidemiologists as chairs in a single session);
    4. Session topic (enough abstracts need to be submitted on topic for a CCS to be offered);
    5. Evidence of consistent SER membership in the last 5 years;
  • Session Chairs are invited to participate by email by the SER President. If they cannot participate, the President chooses the next person on the list.
  • Session Chairs are sent detailed instructions about how to choose from peer-reviewed, scored abstracts. They are provided with the average reviewer scores for each abstract. They are encouraged to select at least one student abstract for presentation.
  • There is a maximum of 1 concurrent contributed session oral presentation per SER member (as first author of oral abstract presentation). In most years, there is no limit on the number of poster presentations per SER member. However, this is contingent on space allocation at the hotel in the current year. During years when there is limited physical space for poster presentations, high-scoring abstracts from individuals with multiple accepted abstracts will be placed in an online abstract program book.
  • In 2018, 882 regular abstracts were submitted. 144 (16%) were accepted as oral presentations and 675 (77%) were accepted as poster presentations. Late-breaker abstracts have a lower acceptance rate.