The deadline to register for a peer-reviewed computer science conference with proceedings is in three days and I cannot attend despite being the main author of a paper there since I am leaving the current institution for non-academic employment. I cannot afford to lose this job and losing it will have catastrophic consequences. I have discussed this issue with the coauthor for many months, and they kept saying "I'm pretty sure that I can go, but if not we'll find a solution". At least one author of the paper must be registered and at least that person must present it at the conference or else the paper will not be published.

There has been still no tangible proof of the coauthor either definitely going to the conference or registering, and I do not know this person well enough to trust them. The publication is critical as it is the only proof of me producing anything in quite a long time, so I cannot afford to lose this publication. I cannot take the stress any more. How do I ensure that someone registers for my paper so that it appears in the proceedings?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ff524 Feb 12 '18 at 23:25
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    Why can't you attend? I mean, why technically? – einpoklum Feb 13 '18 at 1:38

It has been discussed at length that you should reconsider if the paper or not leaving to present it are more important and I urge you to do that.

However, assuming you know your situation better than us, even though it sounds off, here's the only solution I can think of:

Ask. Nicely!

Call your co-author, say please (because you want something from him) and hope he says he'll register. Then explain how important it is and ask for a confirmation so that you can sleep better. Make sure it doesn't come across as mistrust and that you're just asking because it's so important to you.

If that doesn't work, swallow your pride and beg. Offer to pay the flight (if you were going you'd pay it too (?)). Offer something else. Most people will agree to do it when they understand the severity of the situation. But maybe try to explain it more in depth than you did here, because I haven't understood it yet.

  • +1 but I would offer to pay in the beginning. Not after being refused. And maybe try to sell it as giving them a free opportunity to tour the city as well (though if they take extra days to tour it, you obviously wouldn't pay for the extra hotel etc.). – user541686 Feb 12 '18 at 20:50
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    @Mehrdad offering to pay is just to underline desperation, not to bribe them. I think emotional understanding is worth more than a flight and personally if someone were desperate enough to pay for a flight, I'd try to make the presentation possible, not because of the money but just to help. – DonQuiKong Feb 12 '18 at 21:27
  • I personally find the idea to beg quite embarrassing. Instead, another way of doing this is asking them to do it as favour to you from the beginning. In the end we all like doing favours and helping people (although this may be counter-intuitive), even more so if it's beneficial to us as well. – user347489 Feb 13 '18 at 2:51
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    @user347489 I don't know if that's a cultural thing somewhere, but for me asking nicely and asking for a favour of pretty much the same thing with a different name. Sure, begging is embarrassing, but if you're in a position where your career depends on someone doing you a favour and it's that much of a deal that asking nicely doesn't work (maybe there's a birthday party they'd rather attend or whatever), then begging seems to be the only way. – DonQuiKong Feb 13 '18 at 6:00

Another possibility is that your "non-academic employment" obviously values your skills - have you considered asking them if they will give you leave (paid or unpaid) to let you present - and it has been known that some people say in their intro "I am here thanks to the grace of X...".

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    I'm just at a CS conference together with a student who did exactly this :). And we managed to get some funding to cover some of the traveling expenses, bt this might be tricky depending on the university. – OBu Feb 11 '18 at 23:19

The publication is critical as it is the only proof of me producing anything in quite a long time, so I cannot afford to lose this publication

Then you should be turning up yourself. You can't blame this on anyone else: you messed up your schedule.

How do I ensure that someone registers for my paper so that it appears in the proceedings?

Do it yourself. Sorry, it's that simple. You need to start taking responsibility for this now.

I understand that, having left it so late, it's going to be a little awkward getting time off from your new employer. However, presenting an academic project at a conference is a pretty good reason to have that time off — an employer not understanding of that is probably not somebody I'd want to work with. It's just that late notice that you're going to have to contend with. Given its importance to you, you should have had this event as a fixed date on your diary for months now, and noted it to your new employer early on.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ff524 Feb 12 '18 at 23:25
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    I took 3 continuous weeks off in the first few months of my most recent job (and mine was just for vacation), unpaid by choice. They offered to let me go "in the hole" and get paid for those weeks. It's not an unreasonable request, although the sooner you ask the better off you'll be. – TemporalWolf Feb 13 '18 at 0:09

This may depend on the publisher of the paper. Some conferences explicitly require that one of the authors of the paper presents it at the conference. I can read this requirement from your text, but you have to be careful.

If you just register an author, that is not enough. They have to present! If someone else presents the paper that might still not be sufficient.

You should also consider contacting the person above your co-author. Discuss this issue with him/her and point out that presenting at the conference is important. Then you do not need to trust your co-author that much and you might have a more reliable answer.

Regarding your leaving for another employment: Have you talked to this employer? They might be willing to support your case (e.g., giving you a few days off).

Even if this hurts financially: Have you considered just going to the conference and presenting on your own? I have seen people doing this from similar situations. However, this can be quite expensive and might not be a feasible option.

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    If someone else presents the paper that might still not be sufficient. — I’m willing to accept that such conferences exist, but I have never encountered one. (Then again, theory conferences tend to publish proceedings just before the conference starts, and they accept late registration, so they can’t tell if no author is present.) – JeffE Feb 11 '18 at 14:42
  • @JeffE, while this is true for proceedings that are produced before the actual event (be that printed or digital) the organizers of the conference may still chose to remove any "no-show" contributions from their online repository. – Ghanima Feb 11 '18 at 20:01
  • @Ghanima Sure, they may decide that, but I've never encountered a conference that does decide that. – JeffE Feb 13 '18 at 20:11
  • @JeffE, at least SPIE explicitely threatens to do so, though I have no idea if they really see it through. My point, however is, that the importance of online repositories is probably as high as or even higher than that of pre-made proceedings, thus giving the threat some real weight. – Ghanima Feb 13 '18 at 20:28

You are worrying too much

If you are leaving for non-academic employment, then the loss of the paper is unlikely to have any significant impact on your future career. Outside of academia, employers are likely to place little or no value on your publication record and - by the time you're looking for your next job - whatever your going to be doing that means you can't attend the conference will be considered far more important than whether or not you got this paper out. You don't need to worry so much about it.

You should trust your co-author

You say "[t]here has been still no tangible proof of the coauthor either definitely going to the conference or registering" but there's no tangible proof of the opposite either. Stop borrowing trouble from an imagined future.

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    +1 "Stop borrowing trouble from an imagined future" - great quote! – Captain Emacs Feb 12 '18 at 19:18
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    Leaving academia does not imply you might not be coming back in a near or distant future. Better keep your options open. – Rui F Ribeiro Feb 12 '18 at 19:22

You might try talking to the conference chair to see if there are any options if you absolutely can't make it. AAAI also has the policy of "At least one author must register and present", but this year, there was a paper for which none of the authors were able to obtain visas, and thus couldn't attend. One of them recorded a video of them giving the talk, and the session chair played it at their scheduled time. Perhaps you could work out something similar.

I have no idea how common that sort of arrangement is, though. Their situation was certainly one that was beyond their control, so if the reason you can't attend is less compelling, the chair may be less accommodating.


There's no reason that the paper can't be presented by a random colleague. You still have to satisfy the registration requirement, but if you know someone else who is going to be there, you can ask them to present for you. You'd want to provide them with slides, etc. If you don't know anyone attending the conference well enough to ask them, you could ask the session chair (assuming she's already identified) for advice.

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    Usually, conferences require one of the authors to be present. – padawan Feb 12 '18 at 12:36
  • This certainly won't work in my field (social sciences). – henning -- reinstate Monica Feb 12 '18 at 12:59
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    This. @padawan: So, his friend walks up to the podium and says "Hello, I'm presenting XYZ. I want to apologize on behalf of [OP], who is not feeling well and couldn't make it today." - will he be taken off stage? Of course not. – einpoklum Feb 13 '18 at 1:38
  • @einpoklum They might not be taken off stage, but they might be taken out of print. – Jessica B Feb 13 '18 at 5:19
  • @JessicaB: I find that extremely hard to believe. Name one example of this happening in a non-esoteric conference. – einpoklum Feb 13 '18 at 12:19

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