Abstract Reviewers Guidelines

General requirements for abstracts
In the context of ICASA 2019 an abstract is a stand-alone statement that briefly explains the essential information of a study, research project, policy or programme. As described in the Abstract Submission Guidelines, abstract submitters are asked to choose one track category for their abstract and choose one of the following options for abstract submission:

Option 1
Suited for research conducted in all disciplines. Abstracts submitted under the first option should contain concise statements of:

    • Background: indicate the purpose and objective of the research, the hypothesis that was tested or a description of the problem being analyzed or evaluated.
    • Methods: describe the study period / setting / location, study design, study population, data collection and methods of analysis used.
    • Results: present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings / outcome of the study. Please summarize any specific results.
    • Conclusions: explain the significance of your findings / outcomes of the study for HIV prevention, treatment, care and / or support, and future implications of the results.

 

Option 2
Suited for lessons learned through programme or project implementation or management. Abstracts submitted under the second option should contain concise statements of:

    • Background: summarize the purpose, scope and objectives, of the programme, project or policy. 
    • Description: describe the programme, project or policy period / setting / location, the structure, key population (if applicable), activities and interventions undertaken in support of the programme, project or policy.
    • Lessons learned: present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings / outcomes of the programme, project or policy; include an analysis or evaluation of lessons learned and best practices. Please summarize any specific results that support your lessons learned and best practices.
    • Conclusions/Next steps: explain the significance of your findings / outcomes of the programme, project or policy for HIV prevention, treatment, care and / or support, and future implications of the results.

 

Reviewing Process
All submitted abstracts go through a blind peer-review process carried out by a team of approximately 1,400 abstract reviewers, who are international experts in the field of HIV, in addition to members of the Scientific Programme and Track Committees.

    • The abstracts and the scores are confidential.
    • Each abstract is allocated to five (5) reviewers and should receive at least three (3) scores per abstract.
    • Each abstract will receive scores for five pre-determined criteria on a scale of 1-6, where 1 is the lowest score and 6 is the highest. The final score will be the average of these 5 scores.
    • Each criteria will have the same weight in the final score.
    • The final score will be translated into a written recommendation regarding selection.

 

Scoring criteria
Option 1

    • Is there a clear background and justified objective?
    • Is the methodology/study design appropriate for the objectives?
    • Are the results important and clearly presented?
    • Are the conclusions supported by the results?
    • Is the study original, and does it contribute to the field?

 

Option 2

    • Is there a clear background and justified objective?
    • Is the programme, project or policy design and implementation appropriate for the objectives?
    • Are the lessons learned or best practices important, supported by the findings and clearly presented?
    • Are the conclusions/next steps supported by the results and are they feasible?
    • Is the work reported original, and does it contribute to the field[1]?

 

Scoring Scale (applicable for both Option 1 and Option 2)

Score Score Descriptors
1

Very weak: shows one or more critical shortcomings

2

Weak: shows significant weakness

3

Adequate: meets criteria

4

Good: meets criteria and has some distinctive value

5

Strong: meets all and exceeds some criteria, and has distinctive value in several ways

6

Excellent: exceeds expectations on all criteria

 

Final Score Recommendation (applicable for both Option 1 and Option 2)

Score Final Score Recommendation
1.0 – 1.4 Definite rejection
1.5 – 2.4

Recommended as rejected

2.5 – 3.4

Recommended as a potential poster exhibition

3.5 – 4.4

Recommended as poster exhibition or potentially as a poster discussion

4.5 – 5.4

Recommended as poster discussion or potentially as an oral

5.5 – 6.0 Definite oral

Abstracts previously presented
An abstract which has been previously published or presented at a national, regional or international meeting can only be submitted provided that there are new methods, new findings, substantially updated information or other valid reasons for submitting that can be provided by the author. If you think that an abstract has been previously presented or published, please indicate this on the scoring sheet.

Conflicts of Interest
Should you perceive that you have a conflict of interest regarding an abstract or that it is not in your area of expertise, please indicate this on the scoring sheet.

Criteria for back-up reviewing
Abstracts that receive discrepant scores or an insufficient number of scores during the regular review period will be sent for “back-up” review to the SPC and Track members.

Abstract Selection
The Scientific Programme Committee makes the final selection of abstracts to be included in the conference programme. Abstracts can be selected for oral presentation in Oral Abstract Sessions or to be presented as posters. A small number of the highest-scoring posters are selected for presentation in Oral Poster Discussion Sessions, whereas. The majority of the posters, however, will be displayed in the Poster Exhibition area.

Confidentiality
All conference abstracts are subject to the Conference Embargo Policy. Abstract content is confidential and reviewers are under no circumstance allowed to pass information obtained from an abstract to a third party.

Questions?
If you have questions or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at abstract@icasa2019rwanda.org


[1] When scoring this criteria, please consider that work submitted under Option 2 may be reporting results/lessons learnt which, while not completely original, may be novel and original in a specific setting. For example, some implementation programmes have proved to be successful in some settings, but are yet to be confirmed in other contexts.