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I have little understanding about invited papers, but as far as I know, I think these are non-peer-reviewed papers presented at a conference.

  • Now why and when does one go for an invited paper? Is it only to advertise one's work? Is there any other merit in this?
  • Also, are normal papers and invited papers the same as far as cost is concerned?
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Being invited to present a paper or give a keynote is an honour. It shows that the community recognizes your work. Of course, it is also a way to further advertise your work, or to reflect on what you have done. Generally, the audience is larger for invited speakers.

One accepts the invitation if one has time and prestige of the conference matches one's reputation. If you have a small reputation, an invited talk at a workshop is an honour. If you are super-famous, you'll tend to only accept invitations to prestigious events.

The cost may depend on how much money the conference has in its budget, which will often depend on the sponsors. Sometimes the conference will waive the registration fee, often they may provide accommodation also, and sometimes they may even cover airfare. Bigger conferences will be able to cover more of the costs. Small workshops may not be able to cover any of the costs.

  • Thanks. Also, is there anything like inviting oneself to a conference? That is, is there a way to make conf. people invite you rather than they doing it of their own accord? – Bravo Jun 22 '12 at 3:32
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    @Bravo You can definitely invite yourself to give a talk in a seminar. I have done this successfully many times. Most seminar organizers are generally looking for speakers. The key is to offer, without presuming they will accept. Be flexible about when you can come. And when you do get invited, work very hard preparing your talk, to ensure that you'll give a good talk. The web has lots of great advice on giving talks, but most of it boils down to (1) think hard about who your audience will be and what will benefit them (2) organize your ideas clearly in advance and practice. – Dan C Jun 22 '12 at 5:08
  • It's generally a good idea to get experience giving talks in seminars before you start inviting yourself to speak at conferences. Getting invitations is also a lot about knowing people. When you go to conferences, introduce yourself to people. Ask them about their research and tell them about yours. If you have common interests, then they are more likely to invite you to speak in their seminar or future conference session. – Dan C Jun 22 '12 at 5:16
  • I've never heard of anyone inviting themselves to talk at a conference. Sure, you can register and go to the conference (at least in my field). – Dave Clarke Jun 22 '12 at 6:18
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In addition to Dave Clarke's answer:

  • I get quite a lot of "invitations" from scam journals, which I ignore.

  • Most of the conferences I attend now publish their "proceedings" as a special issue of one of the relevant journals, and they undergo the usual peer-review. I'd expect that this is true too for the proceedings paper belonging to an invited talk.
    However, many of the invited lectures are actually more lecturing(*) than presenting the very newest work. So the work presented there usually is already published.

(*) I like it if invited and keynote lectures are actually teaching. It's like an oral review paper, and I think it is a good idea to have an overview and common starting level for hearing the more specialized talks that follow.

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You asked whether there is any merit to presenting an invited paper other than advertising your work. Yes. What you really want, more than people getting excited about a particular paper you write, is for them to get excited about you. You want to be viewed as a valuable member of your community, whatever community you choose that to be.

So partly your talk is an advertisement for your work, but more than that, your talk is an advertisement for you, the helpful guy or gal that you are. It increases your visibility, but it's your job to follow up on the opportunities this visibility creates for you. Talk with people. Listen. Really listen to what they're saying (and don't just wait for your turn to talk again). Remember names. Start building your network. Sometimes the most useful thing you'll do at a conference is to grab a beer with new friends, after the talks finish for the day. One key to building a successful network is really trying to help your contacts as much as trying to help yourself. (If you have more questions on networking, I'll be happy to share my thoughts, but I'll stop now for fear of drifting too far off topic.)

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