SMS seeks original, unpublished work to move the scholarly conversation forward. Contributions may be rooted in or derived from prior work, but the submitted proposal must reflect significant development. If your submission is similar to a previous SMS presentation, you may be asked to demonstrate the development your work has undergone. Any proposal submitted that is judged to be identical or substantially similar to work already published, presented, or under review for any conference or publication may be subject to exclusion from the program. 

Research Proposal Guidelines

An SMS Conference proposal submission has two components: completion of an online submission form that collects information about the proposal, and the uploaded proposal document. Below are the requirements for each. Only submissions of proposal(s) through the online submission system will be accepted. 

Proposal documents should: 

  • Not exceed 4000 words, inclusive of references and any charts, graphs, diagrams, etc. Submitted proposals exceeding 4000 words risk desk rejection. 
  • Use single spacing and 12-point font. 
  • Be formatted in one column or two columns. 
  • Be submitted as a PDF. 
  • Include references. References are required and must be included in the proposal document. References should be formatted in APA style. Proposals submitted without references risk desk rejection. 
  • Include a title that matches the title entered into the submission system form. This title should not exceed 15 words. 
  • Not include an abstract. The abstract will instead be entered directly into the submission form. 
  • Not list author names, in order to preserve anonymity. Instead, authors will be entered into the submission form. Please refer to authors in the document text in the third person only. Proposal documents that list author names risk desk rejection. 

The online submission form requires: 

  • A title, not to exceed 15 words, that matches the title listed in the header of the proposal document. 
  • A 125-word abstract for inclusion in the Conference Program. 
  • All co-authors be listed in the submission form in the order of contribution. 
  • No author or co-author be named in more than two (2) submitted proposals. (See Authorship below for additional information.)

Panel Session Proposal Guidelines

The Annual Conference, and some Special Conferences, welcome proposals for panel sessions. Panels submitted to the Annual Conference, if accepted, are most often held as Parallel Panels, which take place Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening in parallel with research presentation sessions. Occasionally, a Track Chair may accept a panel for their Saturday or Sunday morning programming. 

Please review the guidelines below and contact the SMS Executive Office with any additional questions. 

Panel Session Overview 

An SMS Conference panel session consists of a conversation between 3-6 panelists with different perspectives to exchange views on a relevant and current topic, often with one of the panelists serving as facilitator of the discussion and session chair. Audience members can be involved in the discussion as well. 

Panel Requirements  

  1. Panels must be no less than 70% discussion-based (including discussant-moderator Q&A, conversation between panelists, or audience Q&A). Proposal submitters must demonstrate this by including a proposed panel agenda for the 75-minute session in their submission document. Proposals for panel sessions that fail to provide an agenda or appear to be a collection of presentations, resembling a Paper session, risk desk rejection. 
  1. Panels are the primary session format through which SMS conferences engage practitioners. Therefore, Track Chairs will give preference in the selection process to panels which demonstrate practice relevance, feature practitioner panelists, and/or will include key take-aways for the business community. 

Panel Submission Instructions and Requirements

The names of both the organizers and the prospective panelists should be listed in the proposal PDF document that is uploaded as part of the submission process. In the online submission form, there are separate fields for organizers and panelists.  

Panel proposals should provide information about panel theme, structure/agenda, and panelists. Recommended length is 3-5 pages. 

Panel Authorship and The Rule of Two 

As it relates to panels, the author is the panel organizer and the panelist is a participant who sits on the panel. A panel proposal submission will count against the limit of two proposals for those listed as authors on the proposal, in other words, the organizers of the panel. 

For those listed as potential panelists, who are not also authors/organizers, the submission will not count against the limit of two proposals. 


If you are not the sole author of a proposal, you must name all co-authors in the submission system. A maximum of two (2) proposals, either as an author or a co-author, may be submitted. Authors should not be omitted from a proposal they contributed to as a means to avoid the two-proposal maximum. Submissions that have omitted authors or otherwise violate the two-proposal maximum may be subject to exclusion at any time and are considered an ethical violation of the Society. Co-authors will be asked to confirm their involvement. Submissions with unconfirmed authors by the provided deadline risk desk rejection. 

Track and Session Format

When submitting a proposal please indicate a conference track that you think is the best fit for your work. Please note that the review committee may make track reassignments at its discretion. You are invited to indicate if your proposal represents early-stage work or more developed research, as this classification helps the conference committee assign proposals to Paper or Common Ground sessions. Track, session, and session format assignments are made at the committees sole discretion; submitters may indicate their preferences, but these are not guaranteed. 


All proposals received by the submission deadline date are deemed original and final. Therefore, the following will not be accepted after the deadline has expired. 

  • No rewrites 
  • No changes to authorship (order, additions, or removals) 
  • No changes to titles or abstracts 

BLIND Review Process

Research Proposals:

To preserve anonymity, author names should NOT be identified in the header/footer or in the body of the proposal. Authors should be referred to in the text or notes in the third person only. 

  • Review Committee: All proposals will be reviewed by at least two (2) reviewers. 
  • Reviewers will be invited to supply review comments to authors, but these comments are not required of reviewers. 

Panel Session Proposals:

Panel Submissions do not go through the double-blind review process, as authorship and panelists are important factors for the quality of the submission. 

  • The Track Chairs will make decisions on these submissions and notify authors around the same time as acceptance notifications for research proposals are announced. 
  • Track Chairs may, at their discretion, accept panel proposals upon certain conditions which, if applicable, will be shared at the time of acceptance notification. 

Notification of Review Status

Authors will be notified of the Program Review Committee’s decision in accordance with the specific year’s timeline. Please refer to the important dates for the conference to which you are submitting. 

Program Inclusion Requirements

Research Proposals:

Authors who submit a proposal(s) and whose proposal is accepted by the Review Committee will be expected to register to attend the conference by the specified author registration deadline and present in-person at any time during the conference dates. At least one author from each proposal will be required to register for the research to be included in the conference program.  

Panel Session Proposals:

If accepted for the conference, organizers will be responsible for confirming all panelists’ attendance. Virtual opportunities are very limited, so organizers should focus on those who are able to attend in person. All panelists will be expected to register for the conference; complimentary invited speaker registrations will be available upon request only to practitioner panelists. 

Should the composition of the panel change from the listed participants on the proposal, the Conference Committee reserves the right to withdraw the panel from the program.