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Suppose I submit a paper with a co-author to an expensive computer science conference, and we agree to split the expenses between us. How can it be done, from a bureaucratic perspective?

Suppose it is agreed that author A will fly to present the paper in the conference, while author B will remain at home. One way to split the fees is that author A pays his lodging and flight fees, while author B pays the registration fees. The problem is, most research funds do not let a person pay for another person - author B will not be able to get reimbursement for the registration of author A.

Another option is that author B will register to the conference and get reimbursement, and then ask the conference staff to rename the registration ticket to the name of author A. However, the conference staff might refuse, and additionally, the research fund might view this as cheating (IMHO it is not cheating - it is just a fair way to split the fees - but the fund might think otherwise).

Are there other options?

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    Are authors A and B at the same institute? If so, then the institute will perhaps allow this. – user2768 Jan 25 '18 at 9:12
  • No, they are indifferent institutes. In some cases, even different countries. – Erel Segal-Halevi Jan 25 '18 at 9:37
  • I know that in some conferences it was possible to get an invoice (next to registration ticket) without person name, but with an institution name who pays it or who will reimburse. So it may be worth to ask to get invoice with name of institution B and without name of author A (or with name of author B). Then institution B can reimburse the invoice. – TJK Jan 25 '18 at 9:53
  • @ErelSegal-Halevi Perhaps author A can award author B an honorary title (e.g., visiting researcher) and then pay for author B as a colleague at the same institute. – user2768 Jan 25 '18 at 10:26
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    @ErelSegal-Halevi A simple faculty member can propose the idea and it can be actioned elsewhere. Visiting researchers are very common, so the process should be straightforward. – user2768 Jan 25 '18 at 11:47
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Creativity and asking the financially responsible person at both author A's and B's institutions about what is possible (maybe suggesting a few ideas) is key here. In fact there are a lot of options, and if the funding budgets at the two institutions have different regulations it may add flexibility for you to exploit. Some ideas are:

  • Author A travels to the conference, but in a (partial) mission for author B's institution, so the latter agrees to cover travel cost (lodging and flights). They might be able to buy tickets / reserve a hotel directly, or pay a reimbursement.
  • Author B's institution handles (and pays) the registration of Author A to the conference - with A's name of course! Or A gets a reimbursement for the registration fee from B's institution.
  • Author A gets a honorary into his own pocket from author B's institution for preparing and giving the presentation of author B's contribution to the paper, and pays part of the travel cost out of this own pocket (be careful with taxes etc., but if the honorary is not more than the personally covered cost I would hope it's not a problem in author A's legislation).
  • Author A's institution initially covers all cost, but since it's also partially done for Author B's institution, they issue a bill with the previously agreed contribution.

Universities as well as research institutes should generally have a process for reimbursing someone not employed at the place - it's needed for all sorts of things from academic guest speakers to people participating as test subjects in research projects.

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