I was looking at submitting to a conference where the call says:

completed work only

Q1: Now what exactly is considered completed work here?

  1. That I have already submitted that paper to journals and put a pre-print/working paper version of it online?
  2. That it is a complete write-up (i.e. not just an extended abstract) but still rough on the edges and missing some precisions?


  1. Is that completely up to the organizers and I should have emailed them yesterday to enquire?

Background: Said conference is in the field of Economics/Finance if it makes any difference. There is also a poster session and job market candidates are encouraged to submit which makes me hope that also a not-so-complete "completed work" of mine might be suitable to be submitted. Submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process.

Q2: If I do decide to submit such an "almost-completed work" is it fine to try anyways and worst case I do not get accepted or is that considered bad style and will irritate the organizers and reviewers?


Completed work consists of work where you've gone through all the steps of formulating your research question, applying a methodology, and generating and analyzing results. Incomplete work is where you're still in the phase of applying your methodology, or you haven't fully analyzed the results to figure out what they mean. A paper or poster on incomplete work might focus on the methodology or preliminary results, but it doesn't fully answer the questions posed when the work began.

There's definitely a judgement call when you can consider work "completed". Oftentimes, the answers to research questions lead to more questions, creating a line of related work that's never really "finished". In this case, you'll need to compartmentalize your results into digestible chunks that can be considered "completed". Describing future work planned on a project doesn't mean that a work is incomplete.

For a work to be "completed", it doesn't necessarily have to have been written up already. That said, you'll probably have to write up the work before submitting anyway. You almost certainly shouldn't be submitting the same work to a journal and a conference. You could try to submit "incomplete" work to the conference, since it's a somewhat fuzzy line, but don't be surprised if you get a rejection if all you've got is the methodology and no results at all.


Though the word 'completed' is ambiguous in literature, in the context of a scientific conference it would generally mean work in which the results are tangible.

This means that the conference organizers are not in for

  • Expected results
  • Next phase of enhancements
  • Reports on work in progress

Though most papers can have a Future Work section, your current establishment -- what you are to explain in your manuscript -- should not largely depend on the future work per se.

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