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I'm concerned about a scientific & tech. conference which has set the page limit to 3!

I'm wondering if that means the quality of submitted paper in this conference is considered low.

What do they expect from authors to put into 3 pages?

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    but the page limit is not discussed as one criterion. Feb 2 '15 at 15:00
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Do not confuse quality and quantity: the two dimensions are orthogonal.

A 3-page limit means that the conference is really asking for extended abstracts, rather than full papers. You can't say much in a 3-page extended abstract, even in the highly dense IEEE two-column format, so it can't be treated the same as a full paper, but that's not reason for it to be bad, just terse. The conference might well attract very high quality 3-page extended abstracts. One thing that some such conferences do is have an associated journal special issue, where full papers are later invited.

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    I liked your orthogonality! Feb 2 '15 at 15:23
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Usually this is referred to as an "extended abstract" which might not be peer reviewed. Based on this, you can't really tell the quality of the conference, though you can know that this is probably not a discipline where conferences are more important than journal articles. In my experience, conferences with extended abstracts can be very good (excellent talks to see and great side discussions), but the submitted materials are often not worth referring to as there will be existing or forthcoming journal articles that cover the presented material in better depth and detail.

You have to ask yourself whether you're submitting to the conference to get a high-quality article to use for your CV or if you're submitting so that you can go and participate in a great conference. If the former, that's probably not going to be the desired outcome, if the latter, evaluate the Program Committee and see if you think a lot of high-powered people will be there.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to cite a 3-page extended abstract from a conference, you might look to its references or other papers by its authors for a better treatment of the material by them.

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    "Usually this is referred to as an "extended abstract" and will not be peer reviewed.": There are conferences where extended abstracts limited to 2 pages are peer-reviewed.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Feb 2 '15 at 15:22
  • You should edit that into your question. Also, it might be a more popular and higher-quality conference than I am experienced with. The papers still won't be able to cover very much, so they will be of less usefulness than full articles in other conferences/journals.
    – Bill Barth
    Feb 2 '15 at 15:23
  • @MassimoOrtolano, which is why I said "usually". I don't deny that some conferences have peer reviewed extended abstracts. They tend to get used for very popular meetings where they don't want to produce a proceedings with full articles.
    – Bill Barth
    Feb 2 '15 at 15:25
  • @BillBarth: Sorry, I misunderstood your sentence: I thought that "usually" referred only to the name "extended abstract".
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Feb 2 '15 at 15:29
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    @MassimoOrtolano, I didn't realize how misleading that was. Edited for clarity. Thanks!
    – Bill Barth
    Feb 2 '15 at 15:31
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It understand it may seem hard to write anything substantial under such restrictions. However, how much can be fit into four pages depends on the subject matter. For example, one of the most respected physics journals, Physical Review Letters, restricts its papers to 3500 words, which they generally manage to fit onto 4 pages (using a small font size and a very packed two-column layout). Part of the challenge of getting published in PRL is to figure out how to concisely say something relevant.

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