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is it possible to update (minor edits) a paper after a conference/workshop before proceedings?

If that's not possible, why is that?, I'm just trying to understand the rationale, not critiquing. Aren't workshops/conference mechanisms to get feedback? The paper acceptance has already provided a peer review mechanism; but isn't the conference just another mechanism? questions arising here, might provide means to clarify some concepts to a wider audience? is this to avoid a loop of revision, and instead use the mechanism of a new paper?

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It depends on the conference or workshop, of course. In my field (Computer Science), it is uncommon but not unheard-of for workshops to have what is called "post-proceedings". That is, authors submit an initial version of their manuscript, present at the workshop, and then have a chance to revise for the actual published paper. In this case it is possible, maybe expected, that you actually improve your paper based on the comments you received (although usually no additional review happens at this point).

However, most venues don't have that. The more usual case is that you submit a paper and the proceedings are already published when the conference starts. In this case, you obviously have no chance to revise your paper, because by the time the conference happens the paper is already available on archival sources. The advantage, of course, is that the paper is available for people to read during, or even before, the conference.

Aren't workshops/conference mechanisms to get feedback?

For conferences in CS, this is most certainly not what conferences are for. In this field, conferences are a means to communicate the result of finished studies, not to get input on how to do them. Sure, you can get ideas for future work, but it will pretty much by definition be too late to change what you have already done. For workshops, things are a bit muddier, but in practice authors usually use the feedback they receive at workshops to improve the larger study that they are usually working on (which will be submitted to a conference or journal), not so much to improve the workshop paper itself.

  • Materials science/device physics field - your submitted abstract is published (or available on-line nowadays), your paper is reviewed at/after the conference and published some time later. Never had one where the papers were published in time for the conference. – Jon Custer Aug 31 '18 at 13:58
  • @JonCuster My impression from the question is that OP is not in a field where you typically submit abstracts only to conferences, but I may be wrong. – xLeitix Aug 31 '18 at 14:12
  • Yeah, wasn't clear to me either. Mainly pointing out that other fields may not be as different as suggested in 'most venues don't have that'... – Jon Custer Aug 31 '18 at 14:15
  • @xLeitix Your answer is very insightful, however I stated in my question that I referred to minor edits; basically editing for better clarity, not to introduce or improve concepts. I assumed that the conceptual/idea should have been validated through the peer review mechanism for accepting the paper. – Koenig Lear Sep 1 '18 at 12:43
  • @JonCuster As I sidenote my field is CS though it's great to understand what goes in other fields. – Koenig Lear Sep 1 '18 at 12:45
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Your questions are legit - of course in an ideal world you would be able to make your publication the best possible for when it reaches your readers. Notice the word 'ideal' though.

So first off, this is heavily dependent on the field where you're publishing, as well as the particular venue. In computer science (where i can comment first-hand), there are some workshops that even count on you amending the paper to incorporate feedback from on-site discussions.

Most of the time though, this is not allowed for processing reasons. The publishing schedules tend to be really tight (for instance because the field as such moves forward rather quickly). This means that if there are delays or inconsistencies at any stage, the whole 'pipeline' might fail.

Another reason can be tradition: it's quite common that every conference participant gets (or has the chance to buy) printed proceedings at the event time. Obviously then the papers have to be finalized. In the age of progressive electronic publishing, this will probably become obsolete at some point.

Still, it is possible to amend factual errors or other significant issues at least for the electronic version. For this you have to contact a responsible person (again depends - paper chairs, publisher, etc.) and negotiate.

  • I'm getting my first paper out and those details are really useful. – Koenig Lear Sep 1 '18 at 12:58

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