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Nowadays, in almost every scientific field, there are hundreds of conferences. Many call for papers emails fill our mail boxes.

Freedom of choice is great, but, how to choose to which conference send a paper?

Why choosin' a conference instead of another?

  1. Because of the scientific relevance?

  2. Because of the scientific vicinity to your paper theme?

  3. Because of the prestige?

  4. Because it's a Top-A* conference?

  5. Because it provides palatable buffets?

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I suspect the answer is different in computer science (where conference papers actually matter) than in other fields. – JeffE Jan 18 '13 at 16:34
It is always about the location ;) – StrongBad Jan 18 '13 at 16:55
Have you asked your advisor? – Paul Jan 18 '13 at 17:03
If you have the money, then target the top conferences wherever they are. If you have secured a faculty position, then target the conference you like the most whether its top or not. – seteropere Jan 18 '13 at 21:25

In an ideal world, you would like to choose your conference by their relation to your paper's main topic, and the possibility of impact to your field.

Now, you might be inclined to choose according to other filters:

  • Based on its "possible attendants", such as a highly-esteemed investigator you might want to know and get feedback from, in a more personal way.
  • Your own "travel experiences" (such as wanting to travel to a far-away location, or to re-visit some beautiful place).
  • Most conferences consider acceptance as a "at least one of the authors must attend and present their work" binding commitment, so unless you are going with your college's support, you must consider the ongoing rates on inscription, hotel rates and added values (such as travel expenses or food, among others).

Some other reasons might apply, but your main filter must be to choose a conference in which your work is closely related to.

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Some of the best conferences I have been to have been ones outside my area of specialization, but for a new research sticking on topic is probably key. – StrongBad Jan 18 '13 at 17:04
I concurr, but you at least need to send a paper that is "somewhat related" to the main topics of the conference, for them to accept it. – Ricardo Segovia Jan 18 '13 at 17:26

Not a complete answer, but is substantially reduces the number of conferences to consider, the first things I consider are: timing, location, duration, cost. It has to fit into my teaching schedule and I have to have results and enough time to write them up, but not so far off that I want them out (timing). A one or two day national conference is much easier to deal with than a week long overseas conference (location and duration). I have to be able to afford it (cost).

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Why choosin' a conference instead of another?

Conference is a social event. Even in computer science where conferences really matter, attending and presenting a paper either in a talk, or as a poster is still a personal dissemination of results. With this prelude, I argue that you should choose also (if not primarily) on the basis of what kind of audience you expect to attend your presentation.

  1. sometimes, your paper is a message to the community (incremental works or methodological remarks come to mind). In that case you want to target precisely the community your paper speaks to. So even if it would be a small workshop without proceedings, if your result matters to the small community, you should speak primarily to them.

  2. most of the time, you have a standalone research result. Q: What are you after with it? A: impact = citations. Hence, go to a place attended by those guys who are likely to cite your work. Usually, that is correlated with the position of the venue on the Top-XYZ ladder = badge (see below).

  3. sometimes, you want to get a badge = have a paper at this prestigious conference which will shine on your CV. Fair enough, there you have the way to decide.

Ideally, you should go for a place providing both 2 and 3. Honestly, I see little good from choosing a conference based solely on its focus. Doing so, you might end up at C-tier venue full of people who are interested in the location and the buffet.

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