We are planning to submit a manuscript to a conference. However, my advisor (and co-author on this paper) is a keynote speaker in the conference, as well being a part of the advisory committee (not the program committee or organizing committee). Will there be a conflict of interest if I submit the paper to this conference? I don't think either of these roles (as an advisory committee member or a keynote speaker) has anything to do with the reviewing of the papers submitted, but I wanted to confirm this. I have asked my advisor, but haven't received a response from him yet.

  • Normally, in my multidisciplinary field, the organizers themselves care of this aspect. They would favour submissions from the "external world" and not to overflow the conference (if small) or sessions with papers coming from their group(s). Program is always more or less adjusted according to what they intend. I want make a big issue out of that. – Alchimista Jul 17 '20 at 7:03

Maybe if the aim was to be completely pure, then this would be considered a conflict of interest. However, it's unlikely that your advisor would have any role in the reviewing of papers, though I suppose it is theoretically possible he could put unfair pressure on the program committee.

In fact, it is quite common for conferences to allow authors to submit papers even when there is someone on the program committee with a genuine conflict of interest. They put in place measures that try to keep program committee members from participating in decisions on those papers. Generally, program committee members with a conflict of interest on a paper do not even see any discussion on that paper, much less participate in any decisions on them. (In the old days, they left the room if that paper was discussed. Now they simply do not have access to the reviews of that paper or the discussion thread concerning that papers.)

This became necessary because no one would serve on program committees if it meant none of their advisees could submit papers. Many conferences have had to further relax this rule and allow program committee members to be non-presenting (non-first) co-authors of papers.

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