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Bulk assignments

The bulk assignments page offers fine-grained control over review assignments, tags, leads, shepherds, and many other aspects of site operation. Users upload a CSV (comma-separated value file) to prepare an assignment. HotCRP will display the consequences of the requested assignment for confirmation and approval.

Assignment CSVs contain paper and action fields, where paper determines which submissions are affected and action determines what kind of assignment is performed. The paper field can be a simple submission number, like “10”, or a search string, like “#manny OR #ramirez”. Other parameter fields depend on the action. For instance, the tag action adds the tag specified in the tag field. Actions requiring a user locate that user via the email, name, first name, last name, and/or user fields.

This example file clears existing R1 review assignments for papers tagged #redo, then assigns two primary reviews for submission #1 and one secondary review for submission #2:


Errors will be reported if man@alice.org or slugger@manny.com aren’t PC members, or if they have conflicts with their assigned papers.

Assignment files are parsed from top to bottom, but applied as a unit. For example, if a file clears and then recreates a existing review assignment, HotCRP will leave the existing assignment alone.

Action overview

action valueParameter fieldsDescription
reviewpaper, user, review type, [review round]Assign review
clearreviewpaper, user, [review type], [review round]Remove review assignment
externalreviewpaper, user, [review round]Assign external review
metareviewpaper, user, [review round]Assign metareview
pcreviewpaper, user, [review round]Assign optional PC review
primaryreviewpaper, user, [review round]Assign primary review
secondaryreviewpaper, user, [review round]Assign secondary review
administratorpaper, userSet submission administrator
conflictpaper, user, [conflict type]Set PC conflict status
contactpaper, userAdd contact author relationship
clearcontactpaper, userClear contact author relationship
decisionpaper, decisionSet decision
followpaper, user, followingFollow or block review and comment notifications
leadpaper, userSet discussion lead
prefpaper, user, preference, [expertise]Set reviewer preference
shepherdpaper, userSet shepherd
submitpaperMark submission as ready for review
revivepaperRevive (unwithdraw) submission
unsubmitpaperMark submission as not ready for review
withdrawpaperWithdraw submission
tagpaper, tag, [tag value]Modify tag
cleartagpaper, tagRemove tag
nexttagpaper, tagAdd to tag order
seqnexttagpaper, tagAdd to gapless tag order
unsubmitreviewpaper, user, [review type], [review round]Unsubmit review

Notes: The paper parameter can be a paper number, like “1”, or a search, like “re:jhala #good”. Instead of a user parameter, you can supply email, name, first name, and/or last name. tag fields can contain a tag value, using “tag#value” syntax, or the value can be supplied separately.

review action

The review action assigns reviews. The review type field sets the review type; it can be primary, secondary, pcreview (optional PC review), meta, or external, or clear to unassign the review. The optional round or review round field sets the review round.

Only PC members can be assigned primary, secondary, meta-, and optional PC reviews. Accounts will be created for new external reviewers as necessary. The clear action doesn’t delete reviews that have already been entered.

The following file will create a primary review for drew@harvard.edu in review round R2, or, if Drew already has a review assignment for submission #1, modify that review’s type and round:


To avoid modifying an existing review, use this syntax, which means “ignore this assignment unless the current review type is ‘none’”:


To modify an existing review (the “any” review type only matches existing reviews):


To change an existing review from round R1 to round R2:


To change all round-R1 primary reviews to round R2:


The primary, secondary, pcreview, metareview, and external actions are shorthand for the corresponding review types.

conflict action

The conflict type field can be “yes”, “no”, or a conflict type, such as “advisor” or “institutional”.

follow action

The following field can be “yes” (to receive email notifications on updates to reviews and comments), “no” (to block notifications), or “default” (to revert to the default, which is based on the user’s site preferences).

tag action

The tag action controls tags. The tag field names the tag to add; it can contain a tag value, using “tag#value” syntax, or the value can be specified using the optional tag value field.

To clear a tag, use action cleartag or tag value clear. For example, this file clears all #p tags with value less than 10:


To add to a tag order, use action nexttag; to add to a gapless tag order, use seqnexttag. For example, this file creates a tag order in tag #p containing submissions 4, 3, 2, 9, 10, and 6: