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Abstract Help

Below the main steps in how abstracts are selected for invitation.

  • Since 2006 applicant number to YMC exceed the number of students we can support and for which there are presentation slots. For example, in 2010 around 160 students applied to YMC while YMC can support only about 70 invitees. The following describes in outline the selection process of invitees.
  • YMC will have a panel of reviewers with varying mathematical backgrounds. All reviewers are broadly educated, professional mathematicians (mostly professors) with plenty of experience in reviewing mathematical research. We aim to have about 5-7 reviewers.
  • Immediately after the posted deadline every reviewer will look through all submitted applications and assign a numerical score to them. Many things that a reviewer will look for as detailed in the Abstract Help page, and reviewers will be instructed to disregard institutional affiliation and other such non-mathematical criteria.
  • Once all reviewers are done with the evaluation their scores are used to compute a total score for each application. The computation will almost always be a simple summation of the scores of each reviewer, but we may also apply minor correction schemes in order to make sure every reviewer is weighted about equally.
  • The score will be used to establish an academic ranking of applications. This will be used to divide the applicant pool roughly into three parts. The size of the highest ranked group will be roughly 75-80% of the invitation slots that we have available. Applicants in this group can expect to be invited. A second ranked border line group is identified of very roughly twice the size of the remaining invitation slots.
  • For the border line group other criteria are also brought into play in addition to the academic ranking. These will be mostly various diversity consideration, which may include topical, institutional, gender, and ethnic diversity. In a few close cases integrity of invited REUs (see below) and other criteria may be a factor. Decisions on this group usually take a day longer since they involve discussions between reviewers, advisory board, and organizers.
  • Invitees from the border line group will often also be asked to change the format of their presentation from their primary choice (usually a 20min talk) to their secondary choice (usually a poster or 10min talk).
  • The bulk of applications should be decided on within 3-4 days after the deadline. Since the time between application and pre-registration for invitees is usually not much more than a week we only rarely get cancellations. Thus "wait/hold lists" are usually very short.
  • Please understand that it will happen that only some of the applicants of the same REU are invited. We realize that this can be particularly discouraging to those who are not invited and disruptive to the group. However, for reasons of fairness, we need to respect the mathematical ranking, and also have to consider the diversity of REUs represented at YMC.
  • Applicants who will not be invited will be informed shortly after invitations have been sent. We typically allow a small number of these students to participate in YMC, if they can find their own funding. Space permitting they will be allowed to give a poster presentation, have their abstracts included in the program, and attend dinners and social gatherings of the conference.
  • YMC will not reveal any of the above scores, rankings, groupings or use of secondary criteria to anyone else - including the respective applicants. Moreover, members of the panel will remain anonymous (as is customary for reviewers).


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