I have been accepted to present a paper at a conference in a recognised university.

There is no doubt about the 'legitimacy' or public standing of this university as it is recognised worldwide. In addition, it is the management department within the university that is organising the conference. The keynote speakers are recognised and leaders in their fields.

The conference has two streams: peer review and non-peer review. The non-peer review is more like practical / application of theories in practice.

I am located in the non-peer review section and was asked to pay my own registration of $500. There is no assistance for travel etc.

Is this normal for an international conference? (I always thought at least the speaker's registration was stand expense that was borne by the conference organisers).

What are the pros and cons of attending and presenting at such conferences?

  • I know there are conferences with very basic peer review, but I didn't know there are conferences that have no peer review at all. Isn't there any limit on the number of talks?
    – Bitwise
    Oct 17, 2014 at 1:07
  • 12
    I have never heard of a conference without a registration fee, for authors of accepted work or for plain audience. Only keynote speakers might get a free pass (as jakebeal suggests) but I am not 100% sure about that either.
    – Alexandros
    Oct 17, 2014 at 13:11
  • 2
    There are many conferences without peer review and many without registration fees (not necessarily overlapping). These are typically special-purpose events supported in some other manner, such as standards development meetings, program coordination meetings, and strategic planning workshops.
    – jakebeal
    Oct 17, 2014 at 14:25
  • 2
    To me, the major issue that would make me wonder whether it is worth attending that conference would be the fact that my own submission is published only as non-peer reviewed, not the fact that I have to pay a registration fee. Oct 17, 2014 at 21:25
  • 3
    Did you write the paper on your own time? Normally, researchers produce papers while employed by an organisation, and when they are accepted, their organisation pays the conference fees and travel expenses. This is normal procedure for research organisations, and planned in their budget.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 18, 2014 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


Most international conferences are paid for by the registration fees of the attendees. The higher the ratio of attendees to speakers, the more registrations the conference can afford to comp (give for free). When a large fraction of the attendees are also speakers, as is the case with a lot of peer-review-centric conferences, then it's often the case that only the keynote speakers have compensated registration and/or travel. If the conference is close on its budget, even the organizers are expected to pay their own way and their own registration fees. The smaller the conference, the more likely this is to be the case, but even very big ones often expect everybody but the keynote speakers to pay their own way.

In short: yes, this isn't unusual at all.


(I always thought at least the speaker's registration was stand expense that was borne by the conference organisers).

Absolutely not. Typically, only invited speakers do not have to pay registration fees and, sometimes, they get their travelling expenses refunded by the organizers. Conferences may also have reduced registration fees for students and young researchers. All others have to pay full registration fees and travelling expenses.

And these days, probably, not many people attend conferences without being speakers too. Some institutions don't even allow you to attend expensive conferences if you're not a speaker.

  • 7
    Actually, there's a lot of different ways to be "invited", many of which don't necessarily lead to compensation. This may be part of the original poster's confusion.
    – jakebeal
    Oct 17, 2014 at 12:17

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