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I got two papers accepted in a decent IEEE conference. My current organisation (an industrial R&D lab) says that the conference fees are way too high and they would consider approval of funds only if we get a rebate for publication.

I have two questions:

  • Is it normal across the globe to ask for rebate?
  • Even if I do so, would it be considered professional? (The conference already has a discounted price for the second paper since authors are common in both.)
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    I am afraid it is quite unusual (at least in my field) to ask for, or get granted, a rebate. – xLeitix Aug 18 '14 at 18:02
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    Usually (for ACM that I know but probably for IEEE as well) being a member offers registration discounts. And usually membership (1 or 0.5 years) + discounted conference registration < full conference registration – Alexandros Aug 18 '14 at 18:09
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    It seems pretty unlikely. While I am in a completely different field, conferences generally support / financially flexible graduate students or researchers from poor country, not industrial R&D labs... Frankly speaking, you are supposed to be the one with the deepest pocket to visit conferences. – Greg Aug 18 '14 at 18:45
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    As an illustration of how unusual this is, I can't even work out what you mean by "a rebate for publication". – David Richerby Aug 19 '14 at 10:33
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    @Greg, "you are supposed to be the one with the deepest pocket to visit conferences": I wish, I wish that were true. See my comment below. – Stephan Kolassa Aug 19 '14 at 14:07
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It is unusual and it is likely that the organizers would see it as unprofessional, especially if such request is coming from the industry.

How valuable are these publication for your employer? You could try to speak with someone at a higher level and persuade them to pay the conference fees. Alternatively they can advise submitting the papers to another conference with fees they are willing to pay. Or if publishing benefits you more that the employer, you can perhaps cover the difference yourself.

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    I wonder what you mean by "especially if such request is coming from the industry". I work in industry. Every time I want to attend a conference, I have to fight tooth and nail for the time and budget. Universities may have less money overall, but going to conferences is an acceptable use of your budget. In industry, far less so. Contrary to what academic researchers may believe, "industry" does not have bottomless pockets for research. – Stephan Kolassa Aug 19 '14 at 12:50
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    @StephanKolassa, the organizers are more likely to see it from academic researchers point of view, i.e. "industry in general has more money than universities, so why on earth they are asking for rebate" – greenfingers Aug 19 '14 at 14:28
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    which is why I am trying to dispel this particular myth ;-) – Stephan Kolassa Aug 19 '14 at 14:36
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As the commenters write, this is quite unusual.

However, if the conference fees were not published before the paper submission deadline, you could try it out if you get the financial constraints imposed by your lab in writing. While strictly speaking, the organizers could consider this to be unprofessional, it is in that case still somewhat clear that the problem is not really your fault.

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