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My question is related to the fact that at a specific conference, if a submission is rejected then the reviewers may instead recommend that it be presented as a poster session.

Specifically, consider a paper that has no technical contribution. Rather, assume that it is a superficial survey of the main topics included in a scientific domain, i.e. This new domain should take points A, B, C, etc. into consideration, and some of these points may use technologies D, E, F as solutions. Not much literature surveyed and no results by the author included.

Now, it is my understanding that poster sessions are normally works in progress. My questions therefore are:

  • Can weak surveys fit as poster sessions? Is this normal or unheard of?
  • Using the case described in paragraph 2 above, have you witnessed papers of the same quality presented as posters at conferences? Most importantly, is this acceptable behaviour?

Thanks in advance.

Edit: In response to the discussion between xLeitix and O.R. Mapper (thank you both, honestly), I believe my use of the word superficial is a little vague. Let's for example take the combination of two large domains: virtualization and the automotive industry. Instead of the author surveying specific works integrating these two techs, let's assume the author takes the following broad and hence superficial approach:

  • The author mentions and discusses a few of the major considerations involved in virtualization.
  • The author mentions and discusses a few of the major considerations involved in vehicular networks
  • The author mentions a few of the major considerations involved in integrating virtualization and vehicular networks together.
  • The author ends the paper by discussing how some technologies may address some of the aforementioned issues. The solutions are not in themselves surveyed extensively, but more so:
    • "This person did this, that one did that to address X, etc.", without any deep or insightful comparisons.
    • "To address this issue type 2 hypervisors may be more useful", no evidence backing this claim.
    • etc..

Very brief, the paper is useful in that it groups together eloquently quite a bit of information, albeit, not in an informative way for the expert, but more so for a person starting their research in a similar domain. Hence, my dilemma; the paper would make a great article in a technical magazine, but not as a conference paper. Perhaps as a poster it would be stimulating and beneficial to the authors and for non-experts interested in the domain (possibly stimulating inter-field synergies etc.).

I have not seen something like this before, but I am not seasoned; hence, why I ask if this is acceptable, or even normal.

Note: The example given is fictional.

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    Are you intending to (non-exclusively) tackle the domain? If so, such a poster sounds like it could be fully valid; I have seen quite some posters that essentially said "I'm new and this is what I'd like to start doing research about. I am here with this poster so you, experienced people, can tell me whether this is a good idea and give me additional hints on how and where to look." – O. R. Mapper Jul 9 '15 at 6:35
  • Not my paper, so I'm not sure what the author intends. However, your answer here is exactly what I was seeking. Could you please modify your answer below so that I can mark it as accepted? – HBSKan Jul 9 '15 at 9:21
  • I have tried to edit those hints into my answer in a somewhat more systematic way than in the tiny comment. – O. R. Mapper Jul 9 '15 at 10:52
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Now, it is my understanding that poster sessions are normally works in progress.

Not quite. Poster sessions normally readily accept work in progress. However, I have yet to see a poster session that requires the presented work to be in progress, or unfinished.

The reason why you normally see much work in progress on poster sessions besides few finished results is that authors who have complete, final results will rather aim for something more reputable than "just" a poster, by trying to publish a regular conference paper.

However, it is completely acceptable to present final results on a poster, if you deem a poster to be the best way to draw benefit from your results (e.g. get in touch with other researchers).

EDIT: As explained by the updated question, the "final results" are actually just final for a very early step in a research endeavour. It seems that they are meant to show a direction into which future research could proceed.

This kind of statements, especially when it refers to the future research that the author would like to start, is rather common on posters. Like this, posters serve two purposes:

  • On the one hand, they show a small contribution. Even though they are comparably abstract and superficial, the early conclusions on how several aspects can be combined and thus lead to new research questions may provide a good overview of the new topic to other researchers. In this interpretation, the content of the poster is a newly discovered research question that is possibly interesting to other people beside the poster author.
  • On the other hand, they serve as a request for comments on the author's work. Poster sessions are perfectly suited for finding opportunities to let experienced researchers have a look at one's work and provide comments or enter into a discussion with them. In this interpretation, the content of the poster is a kind of a research proposal.
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Can weak surveys fit as poster sessions? Is this normal or unheard of?

I feel a poster is a terrible format for a survey, good or bad. Surveys are almost by definition long texts with many, many tables, references, and cross-references. Posters are meant to present an approach or tool in a very, very cursory way (usually with one or two figures and some catchy statements). I see no way to compress a survey into a poster and still achieve any sort of value to the community.

Specifically, consider a paper that has no technical contribution. Rather, assume that it is a superficial survey of the main topics included in a scientific domain.

Just for my sanity - if you yourself think that the survey is very superficial and doesn't add help your community, then why do you want to publish it at all? Even in a "publish or perish" mentality, a poster contribution counts for so little that I wonder why you even bother?

  • Posters such as this, this, this, or these contain quite a bit more information than "one or two figures and some catchy statements". I am not sure all surveys necessarily involve "many, many tables", but that may depend on the definition of "survey". – O. R. Mapper Jul 7 '15 at 19:37
  • @O.R.Mapper Why write a survey if not to integrate a bunch of existing information / literature? Essentially, if the info from your survey fits a poster, I am not seeing the point. – xLeitix Jul 7 '15 at 19:44
  • Well, that's the way the survey is described by the OP, "Not much literature surveyed and no results by the author included." If the survey is not that "wide", but rather focuses on a very narrow subtopic, I can imagine a schematic of the different detected approaches that can conveniently displayed on one poster to be a suitable and sufficient way of presentation. In a way, such a survey is even "work in progress", as it would serve as a kind of an "activation call", as if to say "these ten examined works have a certain synergy when categorized as shown here, I think we should work on this!" – O. R. Mapper Jul 7 '15 at 19:47
  • And even with not so narrow surveys, I would argue that surveys of topics related to visual arts or information visualization can very well be presented on a poster in a meaningful way – O. R. Mapper Jul 7 '15 at 20:02

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