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The deadline for uploading conference papers (extended abstracts) for presentations at the AICHE conference (http://www.aiche.org/conferences/aiche-annual-meeting/2013) is tonight. I have already been accepted to present on the basis of my abstracts submitted a while ago. (I wasn't invited to this conference; it requires registration and submission of material).

I emailed the event organizer and received the reply: "We strongly encourage a paper (synonymous with extended abstract) submission. However, it is not a requirement to present."

I can submit something today, but I would prefer not to. For one thing, some of the material needs a little more polish. And for another, I'd rather not reveal research results before the presentation date in November. I meant to ask my advisor his opinion earlier when I met with him today, but it slipped my mind. I've just started year two of grad school and this will be my first conference presentation.

Is there a good reason to go ahead and submit anyway? Having no conference experience, I am not even sure what/who these papers/extended abstracts are for. Am I skipping something that I really should be doing?

Thanks

EDIT: Checking the online presentations, it appears that most people have not uploaded an extended abstract. Not sure if that makes a difference...

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As a chemical engineer, I would recommend against submitting an extended abstract. The primary reason for this is that, unlike proceedings of the Materials Research Society, the extended abstracts of the AIChE annual meeting are not peer-reviewed. Therefore, any such publication will automatically be of lower weight than something that has been published in a venue that provides peer review.

In addition, because the work has effectively been "published," you will find it harder to secure publication for fuller versions of this work later on, as many journals could view the extended abstract as a "prior publication" and reject a paper on those grounds.

Moreover, as David Ketcheson suggests in his answer, the dissemination of your research will be greatly hampered by the relatively low circulation of the extended abstracts.

So, for this conference in particular, and more generally for any conference whose proceedings are not peer-reviewed, I would avoid submitting extended abstracts and conference proceedings.

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The main thing you get by submitting something is a publication on your CV. The value of a conference publication varies heavily by field; except in computer science, they are usually of much less value than a journal publication. But since you are a student, presumably even this is a substantial addition to your CV.

Unfortunately, conference papers are usually published in a book that is later impossible to get a copy of. Usually a conference publication is a limited, preliminary version of work that will later be published in a journal. It can also be a good place to publish work that is interesting but that you can't/won't pursue far enough to make it worth a journal publication.

Speaking as a professor, you should not submit anything to a conference without first having your advisor review it. So I think at this point you're better off not submitting anything, but I recommend planning in advance to submit something to the next conference.

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Let me chime in advising against submitting an extended abstract submission.

In my field (analytical chemistry/biospectroscopy) we joke that such proceedings (including the mandatory ones e.g. with SPIE conferences) are quite good if you need a publication, but at the same time want to make sure that noone will ever read it.

Most of our conferences do not have their "own" proceedings any more, but instead papers can be submitted to a themed issue of a proper journal, undergoing the usual peer-reviewing process for a paper.

Maybe you can ask the organizer whether any such issue is planned, and for what journal?

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    But in some engineering fields, like optics, SPIE conference papers are often fleshed out and published in peer-reviewed journals later. So the answer is it depends on the field. Some fields, like biomedical sciences, won't allow this kind of conference paper -> peer reviewed upgraded paper path to occur. – daaxix Aug 21 '15 at 21:55

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