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Duosuma® Duotrope's Submission Manager

Guide to Submission Assignment Options

Basics

For this guide, we are referring only to initial assignment of submissions. In other words, who is assigned to a submission at the time it is received. For most teams — large or small — we recommend one of the Automatic Assignment options. However, some teams with very specific needs may be better served by Predetermined or Manual Assignment.

Regardless of which system you choose, any submission can be manually assigned to someone else on your team later. Most commonly, teams have submissions be assigned to one (or two) people initially. Depending on the initial reviewer's assessment of the submission, it can be assigned to another person for further review or be assigned up the "chain of command" (such as to a manager or editor) for final decision. However, that person needs to be assigned to the project and category (fiction, poetry, etc.) of the submission in order to be eligible to receive it.

Automatic Assignment

What is Automatic Assignment?

Automatic Assignment uses an algorithm (load balancing, round robin, or random) to determine which member(s) of your team will be assigned to review a submission when it is received.

How does it determine who is eligible to receive a submission?

To be eligible to be automatically assigned a submission, all of following have to be true:

  • The person must be in the Assignment Pool.
  • The person must be assigned to that Category of submission: Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Drama, Visual art, Multimedia.
  • The person must be assigned to the Project receiving the submission.

This sounds complicated.

What happens behind the scenes is fairly complex. However, the Automatic Assignment options are designed to make your life easier by handling all that tricky stuff for you. Once you've set it up (which mostly involves giving the members of the team the correct settings), it takes care of the rest.

What is the difference between the three options?

Load Balancing is the recommended option for teams of all sizes (from one person to dozens). It attempts to keep the submission load evenly distributed across the people in your assignment pool whenever possible.* For example: If Amelia and Carlos have both been assigned 5 submissions this week, but Beatrice has only received 4, the next eligible submission will be assigned to Beatrice.†

Round Robin is also a great option for teams of all sizes. It assigns submissions in a circular format.* For example: If your poetry team consists of Amelia, Beatrice, and Carlos, the first poetry submission will be assigned to Amelia, the second to Beatrice, and the third to Carlos, and then it will repeat, starting again with Amelia.

The Random option simply selects an eligible person (or people) from the assignment pool at random... for teams that like to live on the unpredictable edge.

* There are circumstances where balancing the load is not possible. For example, if you only have two people (out of twelve) who are assigned to poetry submissions, and you are receiving a lot of poetry submissions, those two people will be assigned many more submissions than the rest of your team.

† Also note that with Load Balancing when new people are added to your Assignment Pool (or come back after being on leave), they will receive all or most of the new submissions until they catch up to the rest of the team (based on the last 7 days). If you don't want that behavior, consider using Round Robin instead.

Fun Fact! Duotrope has used the Load Balancing algorithm successfully for years to assign customer service requests to our team of Duotroopers.

How many people can be initially assigned to a submission?

The default is one person, but you can increase that up to the size of your active assignment pool using the "Initially Assign To" setting for individual Projects and Calls. (Setting this at the Project level automatically applies it to all calls under that project, but it can be overridden on individual calls.)

Setting up Automatic Assignment

To set up automatic assignment, you need to do the following: (This is most efficient if you do it in the order listed.)

  1. In Account Settings, make sure Assignment System is set to "Auto: Load Balancing," "Auto: Round Robin," or "Auto: Random."
  2. Add your Projects, if needed. (You do not need to set up your Calls yet, and in fact, we recommend waiting on that until the last step.)
  3. Set up your Team with everyone who will be receiving submissions. When you add a team member who should automatically be assigned submissions, be sure to add them to the Assignment Pool and to the appropriate Categories and Projects for that person. (Remember, the size of your team has no impact on billing, so make sure everyone who needs access has it. Each person has to have a free individual user account; sharing of login credentials is not permitted.)
  4. Finally, once your Account, Project(s), and Team have been set up for automatic assignment, and all invited team members have joined, add or update your Projects or Calls to increase the "Initially Assign To" setting, if necessary. Otherwise, all new submissions will be automatically assigned to one eligible person in your assignment pool, using your Assignment System setting.

What about people who should NOT automatically receive submissions?

For the members of your team who should not automatically be assigned submissions, simply make sure they aren't added to the Assignment Pool. They will still be eligible to be manually assigned submissions for further review.

What happens if the team changes later?

As you add people to your team or remove people from your team, the Automatic Assignment system will automatically adapt to those changes. You don't need to take any further action.

Predetermined Assignment

What is Predetermined Assignment?

The Predetermined Assignment sends new submissions to the person (or people) set in the Submissions Call. For example, Predetermined Assignment would work in a situation where your team has 12 people but you want all submissions for your Fiction call to go to Lin for initial review, while all submissions for your Poetry call initially go to Ishmael and Maddie.

Note: While you can choose this option for small and single-person teams, we still recommend one of the Automatic options. Those are the most flexible for future growth.

Setting up Predetermined Assignment

To set up predetermined assignment, you need to do the following:

  1. In Account Settings, make sure Assignment System is set to "Predetermined."
  2. Add your Projects, if needed. You do not need to set up your Calls yet.
  3. Add everyone to your Team who will be receiving submissions. Be sure to set to the appropriate Categories and Projects for each person. (Remember, the size of your team has no impact on billing, so make sure everyone who needs access has it. Each person has to have a free individual user account; sharing of login credentials is not permitted.)
  4. Add or update your Project and Calls. You can set who receives initial submissions at the Project or Call level. (The project level sets the default for all calls under that project, but it can be overridden on individual calls.) For each project or call, there will be an "Initially Assign To" setting with a list of your active Team Members who are assigned to that project. Simply check the people who should initially receive submissions sent to that project/call.

What happens if the team changes later?

If you add people to your team or remove people from your team, you may need to update the "Initially Assign To" setting for your Projects and Calls as needed.

Manual Assignment

What is Manual Assignment?

With the Manual Assignment option, submissions are not initially assigned to anyone. Instead, they go to a pool of "Unassigned" submissions. Unassigned submissions can only be viewed by people on your team with "Can View All Submissions" privileges. Those people can manually assign them to anyone on the team for review and response.

Because it requires manual action for each and every submission that comes in, we only recommend the Manual Assignment option in the rare cases when the other options would cause more work than manually assigning each submission.

Setting Up Manual Assignment

To set up manual assignment, simply go to your Account Settings and make sure Assignment System is set to "Manual." Then, make sure the people on your team who will be manually assigning the submissions have "Can View All Submissions" privileges.


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