I've been told to set up software to organize a workshop. Is there (preferably an open source) conference solution that allows for:

  • Abstract Submission
  • Event Planning
  • Arbitrary user data-fields

Apparently managing "dietary requirements" is a really big deal for the organizers.


4 Answers 4


According to the developer, the non-free version of easychair can support something like this:

We have a similar functionality in the registration module (non-free). All your requirements are related to conference registration, not to paper submission.

However, the "registration module" is very difficult to find.


Open conference systems supports a nuanced registration module.

While arbitrary checkboxes are not supported out of the box, there is an area for "optional registration types" which we have repurposes into an area for us to track the various optional things we need.

The rest of the system supports abstract management and scheduling.

Also, this forum post has literal instructions of how to hack registration.

  • 1
    SAdly this software doesn't work anymore, it's archived at pkp.sfu.ca/software/retired --- it's "retired" as you see from the URL, has old security problems, and doesn't run on PHP7 (maximum is PHP5.6). So, Indico or OpenConf it is seemingly. I once had a (paid-for) WP plugin but that was a nightmare. Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 16:21

I just found out the existence of Indico, an open-source conference management software developed at CERN for their own needs. I have just played with the sandbox for now, but it seems impressive.

EDIT: six years later, I have used Indico as an organizer for two small conferences and as a user for 3-4 more. I confirm that it is powerful and simple to use; for my needs (in applied mathematics) it seems the best choice. I confirm it supports custom fields in registration, in particular, as OP requested.

  • How did you "use" it? i.e., did you have to set up a dedicated instance on your own web server, or were you able to piggy-back on someone else's?
    – Lou Knee
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:51
  • @LouKnee I used it on self-hosted servers in our university, but small events can be hosted for free on CERN's public server, upon request. This lets you try Indico without installing your own instance. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 7:41

You can use OpenConf for your purpose. It is free but you have to buy license for upgraded features. Going through the demo, it seems impressive. Bear in mind that you have to host this on your event website.


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