I've been just had an abstract accepted to one of the top conferences in my field, but I'm cancelling my participation for personal reasons (short story: my wife is going to give birth to our first child a couple of weeks before the conference, and at that point I'd rather stay at home than spend several days in a different continent; this happened because I neglected to check the actual conference dates when I submitted the abstract; let that be a lesson for all of us). When I informed the organizers, they suggested that I still should add the conference to my CV, with an indication that I didn't actually present, i.e., under "Peer-reviewed conferences", I would write something like:

  • "A genius solution to an insanely difficult problem". Conference Everybody Wants To Attend XXIV, May 2014, Prestigious American University (unable to present).

What are your thoughts about this? If the organizers hadn't said anything, I would have left it out of my CV; but then, the particular organizer I corresponded with is a big name in the field and way more senior than I am, and she didn't seem to have any problems with it.

  • 3
    Is this a conference in a field like computer science, where conference publication counts, or a conference in a field like mathematics, where it doesn't ?
    – Suresh
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 9:09
  • The custom in this field is that a talk and its corresponding proceedings paper get listed independently of each other (one as a talk, the other as a publication), but abstracts don't get listed as publications at all. That's why, if I list this one item, I have to list it under "peer-reviewed talks".
    – Koldito
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 10:09
  • 2
    Is it an option to have a colleague present the paper for you? I mean, part of the 'deal' of the conference is that the attendees get to hear the details of your genius solution to an insanely difficult problem.
    – Peteris
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


As it is a peer-reviewed conference, I think it is OK to mention it the CV.

I am not sure about your particular conference, but in such conferences the biggest step is to get accepted (extended abstract/paper) and you did. So you did the job, they liked your idea and in normal situation you would present there.

It can happen that you are not able to present and you cannot find anyone to do it for you. However, you met all the requirements to be there, so it has its place in your CV.

If you want to be more correct you can mention the abstract as well because not everybody can know if the abstract or whole paper is required.

"A genius solution to an insanely difficult problem". Conference Everybody Wants To Attend XXIV, May 2014, Prestigious American University (accepted abstract, unable to present)


I am not sure that it is a good idea. Firstly, it draws attention to your lack of preparation (however understandable). Secondly, it was never presented (however acceptable the organisers found it), and Thirdly, you did not even attend. It is meritable that you succeeded in getting accepted (& should re-direct the paper to another similar conference), by your CV shows 'where you have been & what you have done', & you did not complete the journey.... do you want to draw attention to this? You should treat being accepted as a personal success, but adding a caveat to something that was never presented is (IMO) not recommended. Your CV mentions actual activities and formal achievements, and although being accepted is an achievement in itself, it is taking part & delivering the information to others that is of note. I would leave it off & submit the good work you have done elsewhere.

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