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I have a paper accepted at a reputed IEEE conference. Since my visa arrived late, I may not be able to attend the conference personally (need to apply for a transit visa). I contacted the organizers if a friend of mine who is attending the conference may present on my behalf. The have replied that they can't allow a friend to present my poster and would rather withdraw my paper from the proceedings as per IEEE policy.

I am rather disturbed now since booking tickets via a non-transit visa country at the last moment would be exorbitantly expensive and rather impractical for me due to financial constraints.

I have read here at ASE and heard from many people that such things are very common, but I was surprised by this kind of reply. How can I convince the organizers to allow someone else to present my paper.

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    Have you registered for the conference? Usually CS conferences need one registration per paper. This is how they make money. If you register (or some of your co-authors), then they will have no problem by who actually presents the paper. – Alexandros Nov 19 '15 at 4:34
  • yes, I have registered for the conference. – krammer Nov 19 '15 at 4:39
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    Have you told them that, when you said that a friend will present the paper instead of you? – Alexandros Nov 19 '15 at 4:40
  • No, but they have told that it is IEEE policy that the paper must be presented by an author. – krammer Nov 19 '15 at 5:05
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    IEEE policy says no such thing. It says: "IEEE recommends that conferences exclude or limit the distribution of any paper that was not presented at the conference. This policy is not mandatory and only applies to conference proceedings where IEEE is the copyright holder. If authors are unable to attend the conference and present their papers, they should contact the program chair as soon as possible so that substitute arrangements can be made." – ff524 Nov 19 '15 at 5:49
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My impression is that how strictly the policy of "paper needs to be presented in-person by an author" is interpreted really depends on the quality of the conference. Third-grade IEEE conferences often accept no presentation at all (as long as the registration is being paid), second-grade conferences often require some sort of presentation, but make due with some "hacks" (let a friend present the paper, play a recorded presentation, allow a Skype presentation). All of those are marginally better than no presentation at all, but they actually go against the spirit of having a conference in the first place (as a conference is mainly meant as a meeting and discussion place for like-minded researchers). Hence, top conferences (which are in no shortage of good submissions) usually do not allow for any compromises and just retract papers where none of the authors can show up.

Hence, I would not say that it is uncommon for a strong conference to be relatively inflexible about this rule, and it is probably not extremely likely that you will be able to make them re-consider. Of course, there is no danger in asking, but be prepared that the answer may simply be "no". The organisers understand that this policy will lead to individual hardships, but they have to be primarily concerned about the quality of the conference - and, as everybody who has ever seen a presentation by a non-author can confirm, being lenient about this is often really detrimental to the scientific quality of the programme.

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    I don't have the impression that top conferences don't allow non-authors to present. The top IEEE conference in my field explicitly says that the TPC may allow capable non-author presenters: "the paper must be presented by an author of that paper at the conference unless the TPC Chair grants permission for a substitute presenter arranged in advance of the event who is qualified both to present and answer questions." – ff524 Nov 19 '15 at 5:53
  • @ff524 Fair enough. For the top IEEE conferences I was thinking about, the policy has (after some bad experiences) consistently been "no non-autor presentations". – xLeitix Nov 19 '15 at 5:56
  • The top IEEE conference in my field (FOCS) also allows non-author presentations. The minimal protocol is the non-author shows up and introduces themselves to the session chair as the substitute speaker, but an email to the PC chair is also strongly encouraged. – JeffE Nov 19 '15 at 13:11

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