Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Participating in conferences: Why should you go to the conference after the article is accepted.

At the first glance (may be after you have presented your work once on the conference) it looks like the most correct answer is: THERE IS NO REASONS to go. Fortunately there are still some benefits of visiting conferences and the answer is correct just at the first glance – therefore lets discuss some disappointing moments first.

There are a set of reasons why you can be dissatisfied after your first conference and if you do not understand those in advance (read accept those) you are likely to set expectations too high and disappoint been on site.
First of all, it is likely that the audience of your wonderful presentation (on which you spent several days preparing it) will be just 3 or 4 persons including the session chair. The reason is very simple: results of your work are likely to be interesting for somebody only after this or similar problem will occur in his/her practice, not in advance. Therefore you will rather get references on your article later, when somebody will be searching Internet trying to solve the problem than immediately after you have presented the work on the conference.

Besides it is very hard to understand talks on site been unaware in advance about the specific (narrow) topics of those. Therefore majour part of conference’ participants will prefer to read articles after the conference from the conference proceeding, do it slowly and may be several times. All this decreases your talk potential guests list a lot and sometimes the only persons presented in the auditorium are presenters of other articles within the same session.

Secondly you are a young researcher so people are likely to visit „stars” presentations instead of yours.

Finally, having limited connections to other conference attendees and been the young researcher it is hard to find yourself in any conversations in conference halls and therefore you are likely to feel yourself as a not very welcomed quest.

Despite all of earlier stated problems there are still good reasons to go

  • you still could get very interesting points from your auditorium and those could be so crucial that will completely change your work.
  • You can still attend other talks trying to follow basic ideas as sometimes presentation gives much more than article as some people can make really good presentations.

  • Conference policy is likely to state that the proceeding will include the work only if it is presented. Although some proceedings are published in advance, some are still not. Besides conference organisers could consider “not show” fact during the next year rejecting your article by default.

PS: Sometimes too high expectations are motivated by PhD students supervisors defining clear goals on publishing articles and having not said anything specific on visiting conferences. Therefore students are left alone and start to imagine something that doesn’t align to the reality at all.

No comments: