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This is a hypothetical question so no hard facts about conferences etc.

Say for example there is a conference at your own university that you get to present a paper at but you also get accepted at another university's conference to present a paper at as well.

For this example we will say that both conferences/universities are of the same standing and there is no disadvantage to attend the other one such as cost etc.

Would both look equally good on a CV or would there be a view that the presentation at your own institution would not carry as much weight when viewed by, for example, by a hiring committee?

  • 1
    Are the conferences international, national, or local to the university? – Dave Clarke Sep 9 '14 at 12:07
  • @DaveClarke I was thinking either the national or international context. – gman Sep 9 '14 at 12:42
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    Then the prestige of the conference should be the measure. – Dave Clarke Sep 9 '14 at 15:40
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Rtisan is probably right about a local conference carrying somewhat less weight and prestige on a CV.

However, there are some other benefits of presenting at a local conference:

  • It's usually free. With the travel money you save, you can attend another conference far away later on. Now you have two conference talks on your CV instead of just one. (In other words, "present locally" versus "present far away" is probably a false dichotomy. Even if the local conference conflicts with a faraway conference, there is very likely another faraway conference in the near future that's just as good. And if the conflicting faraway conference is, like, the one and only awesomest conference in your field, then the organizers of your local conference probably shouldn't have scheduled theirs to conflict with it.)

  • Less travel: you get to save a day or two of travel time, sleep in your own bed, see your family, etc. This may make the conference much more relaxing.

  • Being the attraction: People may be saying to themselves: "Hey, there's a conference at Podunk University. I think that's where gman works, so I'm sure he'll be there. I was just reading his paper and it will be great to hear his talk and ask him questions."

  • Networking: as a local at a conference, people are more likely to want to talk to you. For instance, "Hey gman, you live here, can you recommend a good restaurant in town? Would you like to join us for dinner?" The opportunity to talk to other researchers informally can be very valuable to a career. Even fielding mundane questions like "How do I connect to the wifi? Where is Room NNN? Can you help me turn on the projector?" can start good conversations. (Make sure you know the answers to these questions!) It can be harder to initiate interactions like this when you are a stranger in a strange city.

  • Help organize: Try to join the organizing committee, or at least offer to help them out. Organizing a local conference is a lot of work, and by contributing to this you will gain the appreciation of your colleagues. It's also valuable experience, and "conference co-organizer" is a nice line to have on a CV. Finally, conference organizers tend to have more contact with the visiting participants, contributing to Networking as above.

  • I agree with the networking point. Last year there was an international conference at my university, just downstairs from my office. A professor approached me after my talk and I could take him upstairs to our department, show him a couple of posters, etc. This lead to further interaction in the following months/year in the form of joint proposals etc. – Miguel Oct 12 '16 at 13:25
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First of all, think about your career in a long run. The outstanding CV shows high number of publications with high factors.

If you have an opportunity to formally present your work at another university, do it; simply because you can discuss your work with new people at your field, and get their feedback about your work. You need these feedbacks to direct you, to an outstanding results, and ultimately great publications. You can talk to your colleagues, about your work/results at your university, at any occasion.

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    A conference held at your university would presumably have lots of new people visiting from outside, to whom you could talk. – Nate Eldredge Sep 9 '14 at 14:03
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In general, I think there is usually the perception that having papers accepted to conferences at your home institution is easier and, thus, carries less reputational weight. This "home institution penalty" is probably less severe:

  1. the higher your home institution ranks in the discipline, and
  2. the greater the perceived importance of the conference in the field.

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