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Background: I got an acceptance at a conference and now need to register for it. They said that only the person who registers, gets the certificate and not all authors (we have 5 but only 2 primary authors).

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Question: Is the publication in the proceedings (LNCS) alone sufficient to prove that you published the paper? Or does one need the certificate as well?

If required as to whom I am asking for, you can assume it to be a PhD (CS) admit panel in the US.

I am aware of this question: How to show proof of publication?. But my conference has no admit card associated with it.

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    Are you sure this is a reputable conference? "Certificate" for publication sounds bogus and meaningless to me.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 23 at 16:29
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    Is it a certificate of attendance or publication?
    – GoodDeeds
    Mar 23 at 17:24
  • I did check whether the conference is reputable or not. It is part of this organization called IAPR and they have good conferences. It is also considered a top conference on guide to research! It isn't an A* star conference but it is a decent one! I did feel the same about the certificate as well. I guess I'll just get back to the program chairs once again!
    – Aymuos
    Mar 23 at 18:11
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    IAPR-sponsored conferences can be anything. IAPR doesn't control the quality of the conference or the review, they just take a portion of the registration fees and require discounts for society members in exchange for the "sponsorship" (which is just a mention in their newsletter). IAPR organizes ICPR, which is a very good conference. As far as I know, anything else is just IAPR-sponsored. Mar 24 at 20:06
  • Oh alright! Thank you for letting me know! I'll look into that once!
    – Aymuos
    Mar 25 at 3:46
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Published conference proceedings suffice for proof of publication.

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    Particularly in an established publication venue for proceedings, like LNCS.
    – einpoklum
    Mar 24 at 13:12
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    @einpoklum Albeit, it's worth checking that the conference is reputable and any LNCS claim is legit.
    – user2768
    Mar 24 at 13:17
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The language is very strange (not in the least because it ends in ", ok?") and I echo the concerns about whether this conference is reputable.

However, conference "attendance certificates" are sometimes required for visas or for reimbursement from your university. My impression is it's more common outside of the US. I'm not sure why a conference would want to limit certificates to just one person per submission, other than to reduce bureaucratic overhead.

If you don't know of any reason why you would need a certificate, you probably don't need one.

It's also possible this is language from when the conference was in-person, and wasn't removed or updated for COVID.

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    The visa issue might be important. But if that is the real reason, they might be convinced to bend a bit.
    – Buffy
    Mar 23 at 16:56
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    I wonder if it was just a poorly stated rule. The statement seems to say, most importantly, that if no one registers then the paper won't appear (and no certificates). They might be happy to give a certificate to any of the authors that does register if there are more than one. Especially if visas are an important consideration.
    – Buffy
    Mar 23 at 17:00
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    Looking at the wording, it is not clear that they limit it to one per submission. It seems more likely that they limit it to only registrants, which has to be at least one per submission. Giving it to only registrants also makes sense if the intent was to prove attendance for reimbursement or to serve as an invitation letter for a visa.
    – GoodDeeds
    Mar 23 at 17:32
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    @Aymous It could be outdated, or it could be for reimbursement purposes (society membership, registration fees still need to be paid). Mar 23 at 18:09
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    At my university, such a certificate is required for reimbursement of travel costs.
    – cheersmate
    Mar 24 at 8:02
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No, if a paper is published then all authors have "published" that paper. Certificates are, I think, a fairly rare thing and may have only an internal meaning for the conference or its organization. Perhaps it means free or reduced cost admission to the conference. They may be more common in some fields or with some conference series.

And since publication is public by its very nature, the "proof" of publication is in the published record itself. No external verification is needed.

And, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that the "certificate" is just something cute you can hang on the wall or show your mom.

In general, attending a conference, but not presenting, has no added benefit for your CV (beyond bragging rights, perhaps). But you can say on your CV that you had a paper published at the conference and/or that you presented a paper at the conference and/or that your paper was published in the proceedings and/or a subsequent journal associated with the conference. Others will judge the relative merits.

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    Re: "In general, attending a conference, but not presenting has no added benefit" Perhaps for one's CV, but I would consider just learning about the research of others to be a benefit.
    – Anyon
    Mar 23 at 16:40
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    @Anyon, yes, I meant for the CV. I've learned a lot at conferences that I "just" attended. You can also use it to build a circle of contacts/collaborators, but that isn't a CV item of interest. And, edited to clarify. Thanks.
    – Buffy
    Mar 23 at 16:42
  • Thank you for this answer!
    – Aymuos
    Mar 23 at 18:07
  • For more teaching-focused CVs, it can be beneficial to point out attendance at pedagogically-focused conferences like ACTFL's annual conference that present research on pedagogy as well as have many teaching/instructional workshops. It won't be given huge weight, but it shows a willingness to stay current on pedagogical practices (my department pays for us to attend them on par with research conferences that we present at, actually). OTOH, if I just attended a research-focused conference, I'd leave it off. Mar 24 at 10:46
  • Also going to conferences is for networking with the community.
    – lalala
    Mar 24 at 12:06
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Anecdotal:

I work a bit on translational research and have attended conferences from mathematics to very applied measurement engineering. I found out that the more applied the conference is, i.e. the more industry oriented, with more non-academic attendees, the more likely they are to give certificates for stuff. Certificate of attendance, certificate of publication, certificate of speaker, etc. They tend to give you a nice paper, diploma style.

I was a big confused on about why, but I think it comes from industry dynamics. In non-academic culture, having these certificates may be helpful to argue about a promotion or add to your CV, as conferences are not standard work events.

So I think this is an artifact of zero importance in academia.

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    Thank you so much for this answer, it was what I was looking for :)
    – Aymuos
    Mar 24 at 9:08
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    Certificates are usually treated as "proof of attendance" and are sometimes required by the University admin / project admin to show evidence of funded activities.
    – penelope
    Mar 24 at 9:33
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    @penelope possibly yes. In my short academic career (in the UK), I never needed the certificate as proof of attendance. Maybe its different in other places. In fact many conferences don't give such certificates. Mar 24 at 9:39
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    Agreed, they are not needed in any of the countries I worked in either. But I remember a collaborator from a different country asking me about it once before, with the reasons I mentioned. Even within the UK I've heard to very untrusting funding sources ("can you provide any proof of that professional visit to Uni of X you claim you did last month"?) -- but again, fortunately, none of mine.
    – penelope
    Mar 24 at 10:16
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Since they say

... the paper will be published in the proceedings if someone presents it. The certificate will be given ...

it sounds to me like the certificate is proof of presentation, (which is required for publication). So it makes sense only to give it to the person who actually registered and presented.

Once the paper is published anyone will be able to see that it has been published.

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  • Thank you, I will be taking this into account while framing it in my CV.
    – Aymuos
    Mar 24 at 11:16
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I don't know the details for this particular conference, but this is pretty common for a lot of conferences that I attend.

The organizers want to make sure that somebody who wrote the paper actually attends to present it. If authors do not attend, it can cause a couple of problems for the conference organizers, 1) it messes up the schedule when nobody is there to present the paper, 2) if the hotel room counts are too low, it can be a big financial hit on the organizing committee. There was a period of time where we were getting a lot of papers from certain international countries, then nobody would show up to present the papers.

Once the conference is over, the certificate has no meaning. As long as the paper is in the proceedings, it is considered published.

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Just to be clear about some versions of this issue: in the U.S., in mathematics, no conference I've ever seen "gives certificates". If one presents a paper or poster, everyone will simply believe you if/when you say so. Conceivably departmental travel-funding rules have become more fussy, but in my experience not quite needing a "certificate". Maybe some proof that you actually took the flight... which is not so hard to certify.

Apart from "certifying" things for funding, the issue of proving that one really did give a presentation at a conference... is something that is completely "on the honor system" in the U.S. these days. I've never asked for "proof". And, really, if a person were discovered to have lied about any such thing, they'd be ostracized... I can't even imagine anyone thinking to lie about such a thing...

But, yes, sure, other situations have other game-rules (as opposed to reflections of reality).

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Different countries have different customs and so do different fields. This applies to the value of conference certificates. They are often just something that you can hang on your wall if you want to brag. Maybe if you get reimbursed for conference costs, someone would like a paper confirmation.

Independent of certificates, all authors have published (independent of certificates). In the US, graduate student admission committees trust claims about papers to be published because inventing a publication would be (in general) sanctioned with throwing a deceiving student out of the program. Besides, presumably a co-author would write one of the letter of reference.

Once the proceedings are in the printing stage and the electronic version available, any claim about publication is already verifiable. Google Scholar picks it up almost immediately. If LNCS refers to the Springer series, then, based on recent experience, Springer is very quick at processing the final versions of papers. Finally, most conferences have websites with lists of accepted papers that often appear within days of sending out acceptance letter. Once the program is finished, it usually gets published very quickly.

In conclusion, there are many simple ways to verify claims of published papers. There is a small window between the 'authors have received a letter of acceptance' and 'claims of authorship can be verified' that a certificate would not cover in any case. Thus, for admission purposes, certificates are useless.

Good luck with finding a good graduate program and do not worry about certificates.

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