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I worked on research that was presented as a poster session at a conference. However, I was not the first author and didn't attend the conference, but my name was on the poster. Is it still okay to list the session on my CV?

(I'm aware that poster sessions are not a big deal, but I'm very early in my research career, and I did real work on this project, so I'd like to be able to take some credit for collaborating as long as it's ethical to do so.)

Update: Since the field seems to be an important factor, this would be in linguistics.

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This might depend on the field. In computer science, for example, conferences are more than just "get togethers" and serious research is often first presented there and might be published only in proceedings. In such a case it would be good for a young researcher, especially a student, to list poster presentations on a CV.

As you say, it isn't just the "presentation" that is important. It is the work that went into the research behind it. If there is no other publication of that research at present, list it, but be clear.

I've learned some interesting things walking through poster sessions and talking to students about their research. It was the research that was important, not whose face I was looking at.

  • Especially in CS, it's not the poster (the large, colourful, eye-catching and comprehensive thing that can be put on a wall) or its presentation (one of the authors saying something about the content of the poster), but the "poster abstract" (a very short paper-like document, e.g. 2 pages) that is important and that might appear in some proceedings - main or separate for the poster session - and coupd/should be cited, at least as long as there is no more detailed paper on a topic available. – O. R. Mapper Jul 15 at 11:31
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In my field (neuroscience, would probably also apply elsewhere in biology and medicine), posters count far less than papers but are still a concrete way to demonstrate progress on a research project. Posters are often drafts of papers so reporting a poster suggests you will be an author on a future publication (with all the caveats of the work not being peer reviewed yet understood by any professor).

For an early career person like a grad school applicant I would definitely list these. The typical way is to have a separate section listed "abstracts" or "poster abstracts" and then cite the abstract including author list, title, and venue. Your presence as a middle author would suggest you were involved in the project but not the presenter so no need to clarify or explain your presence or absence at the conference.

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As Bryan and Buffy stated, it can depend on the field and I won't go into that for my answer. I would add a bit to Buffy's answer regarding where you are in your career. If you're a tenured professor, then it probably doesn't make much difference whether you have it on your CV or not--publications matter more anyways. But if you're a graduate student or post-doc who's about to enter the job market, then I would ask the question of "why would you not??"

For junior scholars, poster sessions can have multiple implications beyond just presenting research findings. It can be a sign that you're active in the research community, working with collaborators on their projects, and/or disseminating findings to a wider audience than the ones who read the journal that you publish your work in, even if you're not the one who presented the findings.

It can also often times be the case that the one presenting the work is not actually the one who had the lead role in the project. For instance, you can be the PI of a large project and have one of your students or research assistants go present the findings to not only give them exposure to the academic environment but also to disseminate findings without having to sacrifice money, time, and effort on your part (perhaps you don't have travel funds or have teaching obligations and can't physically make it to the conference). In this regard, the program of research is headed by you, and presumably, you played a role in the creation of the poster, so why not receive credit for it where credit is due?

Graduate students and post-docs also often times list poster presentations that their students did on their own CVs. In the long run, this doesn't help them in advancing their own career (i.e., no one's going to get a lifetime achievement award for only successfully sending a bunch of undergrads to conferences). However, in the short run for those looking for their first professor position, having a successful track record of your students presenting at conferences can be a good sign of being an active mentor (which can be a quality that hiring committees may value).

But again, in the long run, it may not be worth it to put it on your CV if there's no benefit to career progression.

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I wouldn't. If you physically made the poster, maybe. But even then, I would probably pass.

Consider, do you expect to list every talk where your name is written as one of the researchers but your advisor presents the work? Even if you did the slides for him, I wouldn't bother.

I don't think that section on your CV is so much for written work. (That's where the publications go in.) Meetings/presentations is to show that you attended and presented and interacted and learned something. If anything, maybe it's a fair implication if you haven't been to any meetings, that you are not yet a full member of the community. Fine, try to travel more towards the end of your Ph.D. And yes, funding and advisor sensibility can affect this. But still, it is a rational (imperfect) indicator that people look at to see how much you are a grown scientist.

P.s. Here's an idea though if you want to buff that meeting/presentation part up, but don't have the budget to go to ACS for a week. Do some "lunch talks" or the like at companies, national labs, FFRDCes, etc. that are in your geographic vicinity. It will at least be an external audience. And honest, sometimes these interactions are more fun than a several thousand people mega conference. Get a plant tour, network for jobs, learn some applications of your work, even get a consulting gig (at least in the future).

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    I would add OP can mention that s/he coauthored x posters at international conferences. For a young researcher, this information might be neglected but shouldn't do anything negative. – Alchimista Jul 13 at 9:59

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