I am thinking on sending a paper to a conference. However, the conference CfP says:

The Journal XX will publish a special issue with a selection of papers presented at the conference. The selection of the papers will be made by the Scientific Committee of the Conference.

Now, if I get accepted into the conference, and my paper is selected to be published in the journal, can I oppose it, or am I forced to accept it by the sole fact of participating in the conference? In other words, if I do not want my paper published in Journal XX, is it fine for me to apply to the conference?

  • 4
    Seems like a good question for the program committee
    – MJeffryes
    Jan 4, 2018 at 17:25
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    What is your reason for this decision? Usually, this is a great chance for YOU to get your paper published also in a journal.
    – J-Kun
    Jan 4, 2018 at 17:28
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    @J-Kun There could be many reasons, which are not necessarily related to the question. For example, there is a good selection of invited speakers, from which you would like to receive feedback, but the journal XX is not of high impact, and you could expect the paper to be worth a bit more.
    – luchonacho
    Jan 4, 2018 at 17:59
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    The answer to the question in the title is "no". However, nobody is forcing you to do anything. You can simply not attend the conference if you do not agree with its terms. If you submit your work to the conference, you agree to its terms (so publishing your paper is no longer "against [your] will"). If the terms are not clear to you, clarify before doing anything else.
    – user9482
    Jan 5, 2018 at 9:26

3 Answers 3


In my experience, there are typically two classes of conference special issue, and the answer to your question will depend on which one this conference is using.

  • Some conferences simply have their entire proceedings published as-is, "converting" them into indexed journal articles for the benefit of people in departments or fields where conference articles do not count.
  • "Selected papers," on the other hand, typically refers to inviting the best papers of a conference to be upgraded into better articles for final publication, presumably on the basis of continued work and feedback received at the conference, and typically with an expedited peer review process.

The statement that you quote is unclear, since it says only selected papers, but doesn't mention invitations, extended versions, expedited review, or any of the other words typically involved with the second model. Moreover, if the conference is not very good, it may be that they simply don't care.

I would thus recommend writing to the organizers for clarifications --- and make sure it's a conference that you really want to be at.

  • 1
    But in your second point, is there ever possible to force the publication of papers into conference-related journals? Is that something that exists? Is it custom?
    – luchonacho
    Jan 4, 2018 at 17:56
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    Regarding the "selected papers" case: getting scientists to do something is like herding cats: it's hard enough to get the ones you want to submit to actually do it. If they want you to write and submit an extended version, it's not going to happen unless you want to. An unethical organization, of course, might do whatever they feel like with the words you've already given them.
    – jakebeal
    Jan 4, 2018 at 18:10

It would be extremely unusual for a reputable scientific organisation to publish a paper without the author's consent. Most will require the author's sign-off on the content to be published, so if all else fails you can prevent publication by withholding that sign-off. And as @jakebeal has mentioned, it's enough trouble for them to publish the ones who want to be published, it's probably not worth their while to argue with those who don't.

That said, if the conference is being run with the expectation that selected papers will be offered for publication, springing them on this after the event could ruffle some feathers. If you want to maintain harmonious relations with these people, I would suggest notifying them at the time of paper submission that you may not be able to authorise publication in the proceedings.

Be aware that they may prefer to accept papers from authors who are willing to be published. However, in fields where "commercial-in-confidence" or similar issues are common, such a request might not be too unusual.


They wouldn't be publishing it "against your will". You were notified in advance that possible publication was a condition of acceptance. If you don't like their terms then you have the option of not submitting your paper.

  • Are you aware of examples of this?
    – luchonacho
    Jan 5, 2018 at 9:14
  • I think the quoted statement is too vague to be a clear notification one way or another.
    – jakebeal
    Jan 5, 2018 at 11:27
  • @luchonacho: No but I don't see how that impacts my point. If you do x knowing that y might happen then you've got no cause for complaint when y happens.
    – G. Allen
    Jan 7, 2018 at 21:21

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