Can I submit a paper to a conference if I have presented it at another conference earlier but it wasn't published in proceedings?

Last year I submitted my work to a conference and it was accepted as a long paper, so I thought it was going to be published in the proceedings, but it seems they have a loophole in their rules. Long story short they they didn't publish the long paper. They published my other abstracts, but not the long papers due to this awkward loophole. I was planning to submit to a journal, but with the reviews and revisions, it will be a lot different from what I have right now. Can/should I submit the paper to another conference instead? One that will actually publish?

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    Do you mean should you submit the paper, or can you. Because can you, yes, should you, that depends. If it is should you, I will add an answer, but if it is can you, then it is always yes. – Promaster1 Oct 17 '20 at 18:04
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    You need to explain the nature of the "awkward loophole" to get any valid answer. – Buffy Oct 17 '20 at 18:12
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    I answered in the answers what I thought, but I will modify it if I know what the loophole was. – Promaster1 Oct 17 '20 at 18:20
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    Did you inquire the conference that's holding your paper? Did you agree to any kind of copyright transfer when submitting or when accepted? What is this awkward loophole??? Perhaps you can reveal which conference this is? Did they publish other people's long papers in their proceedings (ever)? – Memming Oct 17 '20 at 18:27
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    @Memming No, I haven't transferred my copyrights (as in I wasn't explicitly asked nor signed a paper) – dusa Oct 17 '20 at 19:53

I am aware that in some fields conferences are the main repositories for new contributions. I don't know how it works and I do not want to enter into this aspect.

In other fields* conferences are rather venues to disseminate and discuss results and ideas, and, at the best level, doing it in a more interactive fashion than the one permitted by papers.

Moreover "political" motivations play a big role. Note the quotes... It can simply mean an authors is curious of meeting others, or seeking collaborations.

This means that

  • the same talk maintains its practical novelty for an indefinite time. It is up to the authors and to the organising committee to decide what is worth a presentation;

  • one can desire to enter in, or present to, a slightly different community.

As such, if your research is in *the other fields and you think you should submit you can surely do it.

Often one encounter the opposite problem. Namely the author already has a paper (paper or proceeding) and is barely interested in attending /presenting, while the committee asks for a paper to be published. This is a problem easily circumvented (everyone knows that it is not the case of self plagiarism) but it seems even not existing due to the loophole (?) you mention.

Summary: hard to say if you should. Most likely you can.


The question is "has this work been published or not". If it has then you probably can't publish it elsewhere. But there is a question here about the situation.

I suggest two things. First, contact the original conference chair and explain in detail what has gone on and get their opinion about whether it is published or simply presented. The editor of the associated journal would be another (perhaps additional) source. If they agree that it hasn't been published then you are free, assuming that you haven't signed away any rights.

Second, I suggest that if/when you submit to another conference/journal, that you again explain, in detail, what has gone on. If you have the backup of the first conference chair, I suspect that things will be fine, otherwise questions will remain. It will be their decision, of course, but it will be made with full knowledge and perhaps some useful feedback.

If the basic structure of the conference system in your field is just to "present" new work early, prior to publication, then it is likely that people will agree that it hasn't been published and can be. But if the tradition is (as in CS) that conferences are the main "publishing" venue, then it will be harder.

Another aspect to consider is what, exactly, was published in the first conference. If it was only an abstract, then likely the "work" hasn't been published.

Yet another avenue to explore is whether the first journal's publisher will, themselves, accept your work for publication. If that is the case then almost all difficulties will disappear.

But the big idea in this answer is that you may not be able to make the decision on your own and the advice of other parties needs to be considered, and, that, with full knowledge.

  • Thanks, a full acknowledgement upfront is always a good idea. The thing is in my domain, which is also CS, mostly the work presented is published in the proceedings. So it is really not usual to just present if you are accepted for long paper. The other thing is that they didn't publish anything at all. Like I mentioned, I received an acceptance for long paper, and the reviews I received for the journal was after the deadline for a request for long abstracts (which I didn't think I needed anyway because I got an acceptance for a long paper which should mean something I would think). – dusa Oct 17 '20 at 20:23
  • In fact I am never submitting to that journal ever again because of the simply put "wild" comments I received, the problem could have been fixed if the reviewers actually bothered to read my paper. – dusa Oct 17 '20 at 20:23

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