I am currently figuring out what would be better to do: would it be better to select one or multiple conferences first and then write for these conferences (if their topics match your topic(s) of interest)? Or would it be better to write and once completed writing, see which conferences do match your paper? What would you do? What would be your advice?

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    This depends on the field. In CS, the normal venue for new work is conferences and their proceedings, not journals. For others, conferences are much less central. – Buffy May 7 at 18:36

What field? What's typical in your area? Ask your advisor.

When I was a student, in my area, computational fluid dynamics using the finite element method, things tended to go:

  1. talk or poster (with no paper/abstract only minisymposium)
  2. journal paper or invited paper to conference proceedings

unless it had been a while since we'd been to a relevant conference, and then we'd take a recent paper and make a talk or poster out of it to give at an upcoming conference with some added results if we had them or could make them in time. But, that may have just been my advisor's preferred manor of working. Doing that, we wrote a few papers and did a lots of talks and posters in the time I was in my PhD program. Sometimes we'd do a paper for a conference that required a full paper (e.g., the AIAA annual meeting) and have to wait much longer on acceptance than something that was reviewed only on abstracts or extended abstracts.

  • Not knowing the field, I don't think this is an answer. It is an anecdote that might not be appropriate to emulate for the OP. – Buffy May 7 at 18:46
  • The answer is the third sentence on the first line "Ask your advisor." This is all followed by a (maybe overlong) anecdote that relays one person's experience that the OP can take with however much salt they find necessary. Things have probably changed since I finished my PhD, but I maintain a loose connection to that community, and it seems similar even now. – Bill Barth May 7 at 19:16

For computer science, it is common to mix these two approaches. At some point in your work, you start thinking about nice little "packages" into which you can wrap part of your work and that are independent contributions to the state of the art...the papers. You have an idea what your paper is about, and then you search for a conference that fits both the topic and that has a suitable submission deadline (not everyone can wait 11 months for the next year's deadline). You don't necessarily write the whole paper before that, but perhaps you already experiment with a few different introductions and see how they read or already write up a couple of technical components of your work before selecting a conference.

After you fixed the conference, you start writing the paper so that it fits that conference. This not only means writing towards the respective page limit and LaTeX style, but also thinking about whether you covered the aspects that are usually expected at that conference. Writing once and then searching for a conference can work if your paper is already very good or your are very good with editing papers - once everything is polished, making changes that are necessary to adapt the paper to a conference becomes harder.

Having said this, papers are sometimes rejected and resubmitted elsewhere. This is a lot of work and close to your "write your paper once and then search for conference idea". However, the rejection will probably come with valuable suggestions for improvement, so the paper probably needs to be edited heavily anyway.

It should be noted, however, that adapting your paper so that it fits well to a conference requires lots of experience with what the researchers frequenting a conference actually like to read about. The call for papers does not necessarily tell the whole story. So advise (e.g., from your advisor) is really helpful here.

  • Again, I don't think this is an answer without knowing that the field really is CS or something with similar conventions. – Buffy May 7 at 19:13
  • This isn't the way it works in pure mathematics, I think. – Buffy May 7 at 19:28
  • @Buffy The question states that this is about paper publication at conferences. Also, it has a "publications" tag, which underlines that this is about proper publications, and not, say, talk abstracts. So it should be one of the fields where conference publications count as proper publications. Admittedly, it doesn't have to be CS (e.g., it could be control theory), but the question would be weird for a journal-driven research area. – DCTLib May 7 at 19:42
  • Perhaps weird, but we have a lot of novices here. Why make assumptions? – Buffy May 7 at 20:23

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