A photonics industry (field is physics/electrical engineering) conference has the following submission guideline:

Note: Only original material should be submitted. Commercial papers, papers with no new research/development content, and papers with proprietary restrictions will not be accepted for presentation.

The only other conference I have been to, there was no distinction between presenting unpublished or (recently) published material. I have not yet published results on my current project, but does it break this rule if I publish between abstract submission (due August) and the conference (in January)? If I don't publish before the conference, is it redundant if I try to submit these results to a proper journal after the conference?

Thank you for the help.

  • 1
    I think the emphasis is on the latter part: the submitted material has to have some original research in it. It cannot be just a company pamphlet that one wants to present for free (instead of paying a sponsorship), or just a simple review of some old research. At some degree, there is always an overlap between results presented in papers and at conferences.
    – Greg
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 1:35

2 Answers 2


Among the conferences I'm familiar with (in Electrical Engineering), most will require some sort of original material to be presented. The conference you have already presented a paper at seems to be an anomaly rather than the norm. In the current case, and in general, what you are thinking of seems to be very similar to a double submission.

For your first point on publishing between abstract submission and the conference, if both submissions are very similar, this would throw up red flags. Would the organizers find out? I'm not sure, but if both papers are accepted, and they are very similar, then someone will find out in the future and that won't help you.

For your second option on publishing after the conference, there are journals that will allow you to submit material previously presented at a conference, with the caveat that this must include original material building on your previous work as well.

Simply put, submitting the same paper (or largely similar papers) to two different places is a no-no, but if the second paper has promising results building on the first, that's good enough. Personally, your second option sounds better to me if this is the case.

  • "The conference you have already presented a paper at seems to be an anomaly rather than the norm." It varies depending on the field. It's not too uncommon to find papers that are copies of material that was originally presented in conferences in some fields.
    – nick012000
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 13:04

If the conference is to publish proceedings or extended abstracts, then there could be copyright issues if substantial portions of the material has been published elsewhere. In such cases, you cannot submit material that the conference would like to publish.

In the other direction, resubmitting substantial portions of material from a conference contribution for publication to a journal might create problems for the journal as the publisher of the conference proceedings will hold the copyright on that contents.

The solution is simply not to contribute to the proceedings, although this is not always possible (or even desirable if the conference is prestigious) when submitting material to some conferences.

  • Proceedings/copyright transfer do seem to be applicable in the OP's situation: spie.org/conferences-and-exhibitions/photonics-west/presenters/…
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 10:16
  • @GoodDeeds yes indeed this is an example where contributing to the proceedings is a condition of acceptance. This guarantees that the contributions to the conference are “original”. Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 13:15
  • I'm not understanding the downvote here.
    – Buffy
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 10:27
  • @Buffy revenge or random; both happen. not a big deal. Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 15:01
  • Hmmm. Have you attacked someone unmercifully? I missed that.
    – Buffy
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 15:16

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