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I am a researcher in the computer science / interactions field. One year ago, I published a demonstration paper at a conference presenting and using quite briefly an algorithm A.

This year, I'm submitting a journal paper to the same conference and my work uses this algorithm. I wonder whether the demo is considered as a real publication and if I should just cite this demo paper or should I re-explain in detail the algorithm (I would then go more into details).

Research demonstrations at a conference is something very specific to my field I guess.

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You should always cite your own previous work on a subject just the same as if it were written by someone else. Failure to do so is Self Plagiarism, which is a real thing, oddly enough.

However, you can also, as you suggest go in to more detail on the algorithm if it will help support the new work.

The general rule is that when something has been published, using it should have a citation.

The reason for the rule is that the original paper may include context that a reader in the future may want to see but can't find without the citation.

  • Want to emphasize @Buffy's last point -- the citation will help anyone interested in following up. I try to always consider how to make it easier for others to use (& even eventual cite) my work. – SecretAgentMan Aug 27 '18 at 17:01
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These are two questions that should be addressed separately.

Should I cite the demo paper?

Yes, not only to avoid self plagiarism, but since it improves the overall appearance of your work that you have already demonstrated your system before. In this particular situation it is even more important since it is quite possible that the TPC members know your demo from last year and if they were impressed by it this will boost your paper.

Should I re-explain things that are covered in the demo abstract?

Yes, too, assuming the algorithm is central to your new paper and not only a nice add-on. Thus, your paper extends your demo abstract in a sense as a journal paper might extend a conference paper. In such a case where you significantly extend the paper, it should be self-contained. This is not only allowed in nearly all cases, but encouraged. Otherwise, the algorithm is not counted as contribution of the new paper, but only the evaluation remains, potentially making the contribution too low for a new paper.

Furthermore, it is cumbersome for readers. They would have to read both the demo abstract and the paper to understand everything, potentially leading to confusion. Second, it might be difficult to access your demo abstract at all since is often not part of the published proceeding and even if it is, a reader potentially has to pay twice to access the demo abstract and the paper.

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