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I worked on an idea and got new results. I came across a very prestigious conference that calls for poster abstracts. I sent mine and it was accepted for a poster presentation.

Should I present it there or it is better to publish it as a paper first?

What are the pros and cons of submitting my idea as a poster?

Also, I want to mention that I worked on the idea independently without a supervisor which was the main motive for me to send the idea in the poster session.

What advice would you give me also?

Thanks

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  • 1
    Is this a covid style virtual conference or something in 2023 that's still in person?
    – user133933
    Mar 1 at 15:12
  • Virtual conference.
    – Véronique
    Mar 1 at 15:13
  • 9
    Virtual poster sessions suck. It's probably worth doing as long as you aren't paying a lot just because it helps organize your ideas. Don't spend a lot of money on this, it won't help your career.
    – user133933
    Mar 1 at 15:15
  • 2
    In my field, you don't do poster presentations for something you've published. Posters are "WIP," so your Q is kinda unanswerable as written. Mar 1 at 20:53
  • Do you need any audience feedback on whether it's novel, useful and relevant, or general practice in articulating the idea and comparing to state-of-the-art? If no, then why not proceed directly to paper?
    – smci
    Mar 2 at 19:56
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In my field (in computer science), posters are usually a "low cost, low benefit" activity.

Pro:

  • A small amount of visibility
  • A small but nice CV entry
  • A small opportunity for feedback and input

Cons:

  • A small time investment for actually developing the poster and, sometimes, writing up an accompanying paper
  • A small cost for registering at the conference (I assume that the conference will be online due to COVID19, otherwise the costs could actually be larger)

In the end, it probably won't make much of a difference, unless lightning strikes and you happen to get amazing input/feedback/collaboration opportunities (not impossible to happen but unlikely).

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  • 3
    I would strongly disagree that amazing input/feedback/collaboration opportunities are a "lightning strikes" kind of event. In my experience, if you go to a (in person) conference and make an active effort to network and be social, you can consistently get great feedback and collaboration opportunities.
    – spacetyper
    Mar 2 at 1:27
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    @spacetyper But is that comment about the poster format or about visiting a (physical) conference per se? My answer is about the poster format Mar 2 at 6:45
  • This is probably very field dependent. In my experience (physical/theoretical/computational chemistry), posters are the most efficient way to get comments and feedback. There's vastly more time for discussion in a poster session than anywhere else. (Short) talks are mostly good for showing off (read: presenting finished projects, perhaps get some ideas for follow-ups), papers are a write-only medium that doesn't provide any feedback at all.
    – TooTea
    Mar 2 at 9:43
  • @TooTea The part about "field-dependent" makes sense, I will adapt my answer. Papers in your field probably still lead to reviews, which usually are a very detailed form of feedback? Mar 2 at 9:46
  • @lighthousekeeper Oh yes, sure, but that's limited to a couple of peer reviewers, plus there's not much room for real two-way discussion. Also, the peer reviewers are typically from the same sub-sub-field and won't often see connections to other sub-fields. The diversity of the audience in a typical conference makes it much more likely that someone will give you a completely new point of view.
    – TooTea
    Mar 2 at 9:54
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I don't see much downside to this provided that you submit a full paper to a reputable journal at the earliest opportunity. You will be putting ideas out there that a few people might find it worthwhile to follow up with. They need not even have a motive to scoop you but their work could make yours moot for a full publication.

I'm not suggesting you withdraw from the poster session, but just that you get a paper submitted so that you are in process for the complete work. The other answers here (especially lighthouse keeper's) suggesting you will get feedback at the session are correct and valid.

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  • 2
    One of my former colleagues missed out on a publication in a great journal because another group quickly published their (worse) results when they saw how far my colleague's research had advanced already (he was way ahead). When my colleague published, his results were still much better but no longer new, reducing the impact of his publication substantially. If your "earliest opportunity" is next week, that is probably ok, but if this "earliest opportunity" is in a month or two you may want to be careful.
    – Louic
    Mar 2 at 10:25
  • @Louic: I was about to make the same comment. In an ideal world everyone profits from sharing. In the real world, you profit from publishing draft results and being "first".
    – WoJ
    Mar 2 at 13:39
  • Oh crap, I spilled everything out in the poster and it will be held on 11th March
    – Véronique
    Mar 4 at 12:55
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    "Earliest possible opportunity" doesn't have to be prior to the poster session. Just as soon as you can reasonably make it happen.
    – Buffy
    Mar 4 at 13:02
  • Thank you, sir.
    – Véronique
    Mar 4 at 13:11
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Pro: constructing a poster forces you to organize your ideas so that the poster can function as a de facto draft of the paper to follow, speeding up the writing process.

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Pro: You may have some input from and exchange with experts and people interested in it, and this can help you improving a later publication.

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  • Exactly. Seeing what questions people interested in the topic ask, and where they have difficulties in understanding your results, will help you in writing your paper.
    – cheersmate
    Mar 2 at 8:58
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Additional pros:

It's better to share your ideas before publishing. This way you can improve your paper.

Additional cons: A talk would give you more time to develop your idea. It could be noisy when a lot of people are on nearby posters and you try to talk with someone.

0

There are no real downsides. Posters are an excellent way of getting feedback on fresh ideas without the effort of writing a full paper. Use the feedback to write a proper paper afterward if you like.

That said, with posters you have to actively solicit feedback yourself unlike with regular journal/conference publications where you are guaranteed to get feedback from at least 2 referees.

I have seen both a crowd of famous professors happily chatting with students standing by their posters, and sad faces with noone paying any attention to their material. Interestingly, that has nothing to do with the contents of their posters. It is more of how approachable they appear and how good they are at faciliting a constructive discussion.

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