PLANS Author Resource Center

Session Chair Responsibilities

Thank you for agreeing to be a session chair. This Author Resource Center is designed to help all authors, presenters, and session chairs prepare for the conference.

As the Meeting Approaches

  • Make contact with each of the authors scheduled to present in your session to verify that their papers have been completed; their paper authorization cycle has been completed; and they are still planning on being present at the meeting to make their presentation.
  • If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to send them a letter of introduction and provide them with your contact information so that they know how to reach you should the need arise.
  • Please notify the National Office of any program changes that are brought to your attention so that we can ensure that your session’s signage and other on-site materials are as accurate as possible.  Any program correction/changes received by the National Office prior to March 24, 2023 will be reflected in the onsite program.
  • Hotel reservations must be made by March 24 at the official conference hotel. Reserve online.
  • All session chairs are required to pay registration fees. The last day to postmark conference registration without a late fee is March 24.

Your Responsibilities as a Session Chair

  • Peer Review See "Peer Review Requirements" below. 
  • Attend the MANDATORY Speakers’ Breakfast the morning of your session
    (See details below in "Mandatory Presenter/Speakers' Breakfast" section)
    Ensure each speaker is in attendance and ready to present and with their presentations on a USB, DVD, or CD to load on the presentation laptop. This is also where schedule adjustments are made based on last-minute cancellations/substitutions. (See details below in "How to Deal with Presentation Cancellations/Substitutions")
  • Keep session running on time
    Conference attendees justify their attendance based on the published program. Please ensure that each presentation commences on time, and request that a presenter who goes beyond their scheduled time vacate the floor. If you do not wish to be in the potentially difficult position of having to deal firmly with a speaker, you should let your Track Chair know in advance so that an alternate Session Chair can be found. 
  • Introduce each presenter
    You should begin the presenter introduction at the start time printed in the onsite program for each presentation. The time it takes to read the presenter’s supplied biography is included in their 20 minutes of presentation time. You will receive a package of speaker bios at the Speakers’ Breakfast that were supplied at the time of abstract submission. If an author desires to update this bio, they will need to do so in the self-service business area or hand-write it for you.
  • Start the presentation timer at the beginning of each speaker introduction
    The speakers' time starts with your introduction. Please start the timer as you begin to introduce them from the podium. As you complete your introduction, please turn off the podium microphone at the end of the introduction by tapping the button at the base of the podium microphone.
  • Moderate question and answer/discussions as time allows after presentations
    Circulate the handheld microphone for question-and-answer periods. Please ask each person posing a question to open with their name and affiliation prior to posing their question. Ensure the question is heard by the audience, or repeat the question from the podium microphone. Under no circumstances should Session Chairs use their privileged position to promote their own views, especially at the expense of the published schedule. There will be an audio-visual technician close to your session room at all times.  This technician will also provide you with a lavaliere microphone and laser pointer for author presentations and a wireless hand-held microphone for question-and-answer periods. Please be sure to collect all microphones used at the conclusion of your session and return them to the podium.
  • Ask attendees to set cell phones to vibrate
  • Familiarize yourself with the audio mixer the meeting room
    The separate controls to adjust the volume of the computer, hand-held microphone, lavalier clip-on microphone, and the podium microphone will be clearly labeled. Familiarizing yourself with this briefly will enable you to quickly respond to volume/feedback when necessary.
  • Review speaker materials in advance of the meeting
    It is suggested that you review the instructions and materials provided to speakers in advance of the meeting for general familiarity.

Mandatory Presenter/Speakers’ Breakfast

You are required to attend the Speakers' Breakfast the day of your session. The Speakers’ Breakfast is for Session Chairs and the presenters (both primary and alternate) scheduled in your session:

  • Tuesday-Thursday: Speakers' Breakfast is held from 7:30–8:15 a.m.

You will be seated at the breakfast with each person making oral presentations during your session and with those authors prepared to step in as alternates should the need arise. You will be provided with presenter biographies, as supplied at the time of abstract submission, at the presenter/speaker breakfast. You may use this information for introduction purposes prior to the presentation of each paper.

The Speakers' Breakfast is a mandatory event for each author responsible for a scheduled presentation that day. The person representing each presentation, as well as the person representing each alternate presentation, should attend. The presenters have been notified if they are not in attendance, you will allocate their presentation time to another presenter.

Alternate presenters must attend and be prepared to present if called upon. If an alternate presenter is not present at the breakfast, and/or not prepared to make a presentation if called upon, their presentation will not be published in the conference proceedings. (See Author Kit for complete author instructions.) If this occurs, please mark the sign located at the door of the session room so ION is aware that the presentation should not be included in the conference proceedings.

Alternate Presenters

Alternate presenters have been instructed to attend the Speakers' Breakfast and be ready to make an oral presentation in the event of one or more cancellations of primary presentations. Alternate presentations will appear in the conference proceedings as long as the alternate presenter attended the Speakers' Breakfast and their assigned session, and was prepared to present if needed.

How to Deal with Paper Cancellations/Substitutions Prior to the Event

If you should experience a cancellation in your session, please notify ION at

How to Deal with Presentation Cancellations/Substitutions Onsite

If you should experience a cancellation in your session and you are able to replace the cancellation with the first alternate presentation in your session, it is imperative that the alternate presentation be substituted in the canceled presentation’s original time slot. For example, if the third scheduled presentation is canceled, or a presenter fails to show, then the replacement presentation should also present in the third time slot.

If, for any reason, an alternate presentation is not available, then the canceled presentation’s original time slot should remain vacant. Under no circumstances should you reschedule the remaining presentations scheduled in the published program as this greatly aggravates conference participants who have scheduled their day based on the posted times.

If you are made aware of any presentation cancellations and/or replacements in your session, please announce these changes at the beginning of your session. We would also ask that you note any presentation cancellations or no-shows, and any alternates that fill these vacancies directly on the session signage located outside the session room door. These signs are collected and changes recorded at the end of each day in order to ensure the conference proceedings accurately reflect what transpired during your session.

Program and Scheduling

The complete program brochure is available on the ION website:  You may refer to the program for presentation schedules.  You may request an electronic or print copy of the program by emailing The final on-site conference program will be available at the conference. We would like this program to be as accurate as possible.  Any program corrections/changes received by the National Office prior to March 24 will be reflected in the onsite program.

We are making a concerted effort to keep sessions on a structured time schedule.  This will make it possible for registrants to schedule their day and flow from session to session.  Each paper will be given a specific starting time that will be printed in the on-site program.  We will need your assistance in making sure that the printed schedule is strictly adhered to.  To assist us in this objective, we will be asking you to operate a timed lighting device (this lighting device will be demonstrated during the Speakers' Breakfast).  The system has been designed with a red, yellow and green light.

  1. The Green light will display for 15 minutes.
  2. The Yellow light will display five minutes.
  3. The Red light will signify that the presentation time is over; the speaker must immediately return the floor to the Session Chair.

Authors have been instructed that their microphone will be shut off once they have gone 30 seconds over their allotted time, or 30 seconds after the red light illuminates.

Time between the conclusion of one presentation and the scheduled commencement of the following presentation may be used at your discretion for questions and answers, or, for the introduction of the next presenter.  Please limit your introductions as to make sure that they do not overlap into the author’s presentation time.  Remember that the objective is to keep multiple sessions running on the same time schedule.

Peer Review Requirement

You will be asked to use the following criteria during peer review:

  1. Does the manuscript contain new and significant information to justify publication?
  2. Does the abstract clearly and accurately describe the content of the article?
  3. Are the objectives of the work clearly and concisely stated?
  4. Are the experimental and/or theoretical methods described comprehensively?
  5. Are the interpretations and conclusions justified by the results?
  6. Is adequate reference made to other work in the field?
  7. Is the language acceptable?
  8. Does the manuscript cite any recent articles from NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation?
  9. Do you recommend this paper for presentation at the conference and publication in the conference proceedings?
    • Endorse paper and recommend for the Walter Fried Award
    • Endorse paper as-is
    • Do not endorse paper (paper fails peer review) for:
      • Technical content/revisions required
      • English/grammar (major edits required)
  10. Suggestions for improvement - optional (to be passed to the author)

When you are peer reviewing a conference paper it is important to keep in mind the following established guidelines/standards for ION conference paper peer review:

  1. The review criteria should not be as high as for a journal paper. The majority of the papers will fall into the “endorse paper as-is” and only in rare occasions should a paper not be endorsed at all.
  2. You may endorse a paper that requires “minor non-technical English edits,” but fail a paper for major English/grammatical issues.
  3. Non-endorsed papers will not be included in the conference proceedings.
  4. If in doubt about a decision, please contact your Track Chair.

Miriam Lewis
Program/Author Liaison