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I've sent the article to the conference and it has been accepted. However, I received a message that my paper has been accepted as the short paper.

I know that there's a difference in, for instance, the oral presentation time between those 3 kinds of papers. However, I wonder if the type (regular, position, short) can say anything about the quality or the importance of the paper's subject?

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Here is what I have observed at the peer-reviewed conferences that I attend:

  • A regular full paper is your basic standard peer-reviewed paper.

  • A position paper is for ideas that don't have and results, per se, but are worth communicating to the community, or for announcing a result that has been published with another community.

  • A short paper is for work that is worth publishing, but doesn't rise to the level of quality or significance of a full paper.

Short papers are generally significantly less respected than full papers, but may be worth it anyway: a short paper in a high-profile conference is often better than a full paper in a less significant conference. Position papers are funny and in a different category: they aren't attempting to be the same as a full paper, and are typically judged more by a standard of "interesting to discuss."

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I will speak from the CS perspective, which I know.

If the type (regular, position, short) can say anything about the quality or the importance of the paper's subject?

Unfortunately, it does. Although the short paper will still appear in the proceedings, it will have a maximum limit of usually 4 pages. Therefore most details will have to be omitted, due to the limited space. Also, in CS conferences short papers might be presented in a fast-forward fashion (1-2 minutes per paper) or together with the demo papers presentation and therefore they do not attract as much attention as the regular papers. In that case, during the demo / poster session people can come in to your "booth" and discuss about your paper (which is more informal but still a nice way to network).

The better way to take advantage of this situation (your paper was accepted after all, even as a short paper) is to make an extended version of this paper for submitting to a relevant journal, where you can reveal all the missing details from the proceedings short version, along with some additional extra material.

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To add to other answers, I'll say that at least in HCI, it depends on the conference. At CHI, for example a short paper is not necessarily one that has less quality. It means that the contribution can be adequately be described and discussed in 4 pages. However, there are other conferences who explictly declare in their CfPs that short papers can be about preliminary results, works in progress, etc.

If we are talking about evaluating a researcher's CV, a preponderance of short-papers might indicate that the person in question was not able to focus on any one topic long enough to study it in detail.

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