One of my research papers have been accepted to a very prestigious conference (top most in my field of study in Computer Science). Since I am not a full time student, university rules do not allow for funding my travel and conference registration charges. Also, I do not earn enough to support my own travel to a different continent. Moreover, my advisor, who is also a co-author in the paper cannot travel due to personal issues.

The conference website doesn't mention about any kind of support neither have I ever seen(short career) such a support being provided.

So my questions are:

  • Should I rather target journals for publications since most of the reputable ones in my field are free to publish but may take anywhere between 1-2 years to get accepted. Moreover, they may require more comprehensive work and analysis which I may not always be able to commit to, resulting in my work lying unpublished.

  • Is it normal to just aim for journal publications ?

  • I am a Phd Student. I want to go in academia in future. I believe aiming for journal publication would result in less number of publications for me. Would it affect my career in future ?
  • I assume you have exhausted all the usual travel grant options...
    – ff524
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:48
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    First of all, apply to everywhere you can including the conference itself for travel funds. Second,if you co-author perhaps your co-author will have a grant that can fund your travel? Third, if you are a registered PhD student, try applying to your university in any case for travel funds. Someone kind might relent. Basically, be bold :)
    – Simd
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:53
  • 8
    Doesn't the conference allow student volunteers? They usually get the registration fee waived. Feb 15, 2015 at 18:05
  • 4
    @krammer I have never heard of such a thing (no one will ever even know you converted). However, being part-time does have an impression. Feb 16, 2015 at 5:55
  • 4
    Could you consider going through the normal admission for full time? Having a paper accepted at a top conference is a very strong point.
    – Davidmh
    Feb 17, 2015 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


Very likely having only journal publications will NOT harm your future career prospects. Let me elaborate.

If you plan a career outside the US, this is even truer. As far as I understand most countries are moving towards a more journal evaluation of computer science. I cannot point to a paper to that effect, but most of the papers that discuss conference x journals in CS are from non US researchers, which may indicate that there is some pressure in these countries to move out of the conference publishing business-as-usual model for CS.

For a career within the US, @jakebeal answer to this Academia question seems to suggest that journal publications are also the important metric of evaluation in "lesser institution".

I heard from someone that was applying for faculty positions two years ago that the most prestigious CS departments were only considering candidates that had at least 1000 citations - so the most prestigious institutions do not seem to care for number of publications and where (this is hearsay information).

Now for the caveats, as you realize, a journal-based career will imply in less papers - which I argue is not necessarily a problem, but you have to be sure that you will have some paper/papers published when you apply for a job. Avoid, if you can, journals with too long a review cycle - you may not have any/enough papers published by the end of your PhD.


Yes, I'm afraid that having only the opportunity to publish in journals will harm your career prospects:

  • you will appear to have published less than someone who could publish the same work first at a conference and then at a journal;
  • journals have a far longer review cycle so getting journal papers out during your PhD will take time.

In addition to what was suggested in the other answers, you could try to contact the conference organizers (before submitting) and ask to give a talk remotely. If you know some colleague who is attending the conference, you could also ask them to present the paper on your behalf even if they are not an author.

Your situation is a prime example of why mandatory travel to publish in conference proceedings, which is the norm in CS, is a broken system.

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