16

I am an undergraduate and am new to paper writing.

I have been writing papers with professor A at another university since I was in high school. We are writing a paper together for an upcoming conference (which is pretty big).

I have been also writing a paper with professor B at my current institution for the same conference.

I am also writing papers with some graduate students for the same conference.

But - in total, I will be submitting about 5 different papers to the same conference (all with different people!).

I don't know if this is acceptable in academia. That is, will there be any sort of consequences for submitting a lot of papers to the same conference?

  • 1
    What field? What conference? – Bill Barth Nov 9 '14 at 16:32
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    Some conferences have a rule that an individual can only present one paper at the conference, but can be listed as a coauthor on multiple submissions. – Brian Borchers Nov 9 '14 at 17:35
  • No problem, but check the rules: some conferences limits the maximum number of papers coming from one lab or number of papers you can submit as first author. From your description neither seems to be a problem. – Greg Nov 10 '14 at 13:30
  • The conference can limit the numbers of papers per paying attendee. Sometimes, you can have more papers as a first author, if your other author is registered for the conference and submits the paper for you. – Vladimir F Nov 10 '14 at 14:21
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    will there be any sort of consequences for submitting a lot of papers to the same conference? — Yes. One likely consequence is admission to a strong PhD program. – JeffE Nov 10 '14 at 15:42
20

Yes, it is acceptable, particularly since the author lists will all be different. Go for it!

One word of warning: The papers themselves must have clearly different content. If you submit five nearly identical papers, the editors are likely to accept at most the best one and reject the rest. That will annoy your other co-authors mightily.

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    If you submit five nearly identical papers... — ...the committee will almost certainly reject them all without review. – JeffE Nov 10 '14 at 15:39
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    I think you are right. The important par is that the papers must be substantially different. – Bob Brown Nov 10 '14 at 16:53
18

It's not a problem per se. Many professors with larger groups submit multiple papers to the same major conferences every year.

However, the fact that you are an undergrad and, as you say, new to writing papers and you are still handing in five papers simultaneously to this conference sounds concerning to me. Make sure that:

  • the papers are all individually good quality - even writing 5 good papers would take me multiple months of work, and I have plenty of experience. And that's not even talking about the time required for doing the research that the papers talk about.
  • the papers are actually about different research, not just the same basic idea sliced up differently.
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7

It's not a problem as such - for example, I see in the proceedings of a recent very large conference an author that shows up on 9 papers (LREC2014, Núria Bel), the only question is if the individual papers are strong and novel enough.

"Salami publishing" is frowned upon, and if there is significant overlap in the topics it might be more useful and more likely to get accepted if you combine two smaller papers in a single better one.

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3

There's a big difference between a large national conference and a smaller regional workshop. When you have 5,000 to 10,000 talks plus posters at a meeting, with 50 parallel sessions, there's likely not a problem with the number of abstracts on which you're an author. If it's a small meeting of 100 to 200 attendees, with only a single session at a time, you probably can't submit more than one or two talks.

There is also a difference between being an author and being the presenter. Many big conferences do not have limits on authorship, but do restrict the number of presentations any one person can give as the "first author" (or, depending on the conference, "presenting author"). For example, the APS has the rule that the first author should be the presenter, and there's a limit of one contributed (and one invited) talk per meeting.

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    All the conferences I've been to (theoretical computer science) have had under 200 attendees but I don't think any of them has had limits on how many papers a person can submit, have accepted or present. (I posted this comment earlier along with another point, and over-zealously deleted it when the other point was addressed.) – David Richerby Nov 10 '14 at 16:00

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