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In some conferences in computer science, the authors of accepted papers have a choice between publishing the full paper in the proceedings, and publishing a one-page abstract with a link to the full paper in arXiv.

The rationale for publishing a one-page abstract is that the authors may want to submit the same paper later to a journal, and some journals would not consider publications that appeared in conference proceedings.

This raises two questions:

  • Why should it make a difference to a journal, if the paper is published in conference proceedings, or in an arXiv paper linked from the proceedings? In both cases the paper is visible online.
  • Why should it matter to the author, if the paper is published in the proceedings or in arXiv? both cases the paper is visible online. Apparently, there is an advantage to publishing a one-page abstract with link to arXiv: if I later upgrade the arXiv paper, people coming to the paper will notice and may choose to read the newer version.

Is there any disadvantage to publishing a one-page abstract rather than a full proceedings paper?

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    A major difference between conference proceedings and arXiv is that conference proceedings are peer reviewed (in CS). Some people consider something to be "published" when it appears in a peer-reviewed venue, and not published otherwise. – ff524 May 11 '16 at 14:36
  • @ff524 but the paper is peer-reviewed anyway... after it is peer-reviewed and accepted, I have a choice whether to publish it as a one-page abstract or a full paper. – Erel Segal-Halevi May 11 '16 at 15:01
  • Yes, but that is why journals might distinguish between a paper published in conference proceedings or one published on arXiv. It doesn't consider the latter to be already "published." – ff524 May 11 '16 at 15:02
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    This is a good question! @ff524 I agree: conference proceedings vs. arxiv is definitely the peer-reviewed factor! What about the 1 page abstract with a chance to publish in a journal later (+ arxiv) instead of just having the paper published in the conference proceedings? CS seems to place heavy emphasis on publishing in conferences anyway? What advantage does a journal publication at a later date offer? Sorry If I'm hijacking the question... – DMML May 11 '16 at 15:04
  • Is the conference a pure computer science one or in an interdisciplinary field? Interdisciplinary conferences often offer options like that, as they have to deal with different publication cultures. For example, CS-oriented bioinformatics journals tend to accept extended versions of conference papers, while biologically oriented journals don't. – Jouni Sirén May 11 '16 at 15:41
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You are basically choosing whether you want this paper to be considered "published" in its current state, where "published" means "published in a peer reviewed venue."

  • If you decide that this paper should be "published" now, then you may be precluded from "publishing" it again in essentially the same form. Hence the option to "publish" only an abstract, which won't preclude later submission to another publication venue.
  • If you decide that this paper should not be "published" now, then for many purposes (e.g. promotion and tenure at some institutions, hiring processes that count the number of publications) it isn't credited as a publication. This may seem like a useless distinction, but bureaucratic processes are often a little bit stupid like that. Furthermore, there is a possibility that it won't ever be "published": it is accepted for publication now with 100% probability, but once you decline that offer, you no longer have 100% probability of acceptance somewhere that you'd like to publish.

Depending on the maturity of the work, the quality of this conference proceedings, and your future plans for the work, you may decide that you are ready for this paper to be "published" now in this conference proceedings, or that you're not.

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