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I'm a UK post-doc working in Computer Science -- specifically, Computer Vision and Robotics. For the next stage in my career, I'm aiming to apply for some very competitive post-doctoral research fellowships. Reading through the application guidelines, they list the metrics which are used to judge each candidate's ability.

Now, two of these metrics are related to publications. The first of these, is called "Number of peer-reviewed papers (not including conference papers)". The second of these is called "Number of papers presented at conferences". My understanding of the reason for this, is that in most academic fields, conferences papers are often not peer-reviewed, sometimes exist only as an abstract in written form, and are generally considered to be inferior to journal papers.

However, in my field of Computer Vision and Robotics, conference papers are in fact the dominant medium for publication. Typically, a conference publication consists of an 8-page paper, which is thoroughly peer reviewed by a number of reviewers, together with a rebuttal stage. The acceptance rates for these papers range from around 20% to around 40%. My peers and I always publish our work as a conference paper first, and then sometimes combine a couple of conferences papers into a journal paper. However, these journal papers are almost always just an extension of a conference paper, and usually act as an archive rather than the release of your latest research.

Therefore, in my field, conference papers are far more common than journal papers, and often have lower acceptance rates than journals. For example, I only have one journal paper, but I have eight first-authored conference papers, and this would be considered a good CV.

So, my question is, how should I fill out the application form for this fellowship? If I abide by the strict wording, then it will appear as if I only have one "serious" publication. However, if I put all my publications in the first section (number of peer-reviewed papers), then this will technically be incorrect, because most of them are conference papers. The fellowship I am applying for covers all areas of engineering, and I do not want my application to appear weaker than it actually is.

Thanks!

  • Tell me how many publications you had during phd and during your first postdoc position, I have an answer for it! – o-0 Jun 2 '16 at 22:55
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    I have only one journal paper, but eight first-authored conference papers (all top conferences).... – Karnivaurus Jun 2 '16 at 22:56
  • Is the fellowship only open to applicants from CS? If yes, there is definitely no need to worry. – DCTLib Jun 3 '16 at 13:33
  • No, it's open to all areas of engineering. Probably around 10% of applications will be from CS. (I have added this to the question.) – Karnivaurus Jun 3 '16 at 14:50
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Discuss this with the contact person for the fellowship.

Pretty much every job posting and funding call has a contact person listed, who you can call or email to actually discuss what they are looking for. This is an underutilised resource.

If you talk to this person you can find out the best way to fill out the form, and it is also a great way to alert them to this issue, put you on the map as a candidate, and find out anything else about what they are looking for in this fellowship.

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I think, based on my experiences, the most important thing here is to 'don't put all your eggs in one basket', and do not focus only on a very cempetetive fellowhsip:

Have Plan B: Competitive fellowships are hard to get, but also it is very easy to be missed, due to the high valume of submissions, and not to be the chosen one. There are sometimes 1000 submissions, not all will be read by the same person. I see a student with 20 publications who didn't get the fellowship but another one with 5 publications who did. You are somewhat in a good position with 8 publications, just simply write that you have 9 publications. If the right person sees it, you probably will get it. So the advice here is to also look for other positions while applying for this as well.

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    This does not answer the question. – JeffE Jun 3 '16 at 15:29
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ObViously, you should follow the rules: put your journal publications under the "Number of peer-reviewed papers (not including conference papers)" section, and the conference papers under the conference section paper, but add a line stating something like *Please notice that in my field (computer science) conference proceedings publications have the same value of the journal publications.

Then, from tomorro, stop publishing in conference proceedings, and start to publish ONLY in journals.

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    Your first point is valid, but your second point unfortunately is not -- everybody in computer science publishes primarily in conferences! And I would not be able to publish in journals anyway without having conferences papers to show the prior work. Journal papers in my field almost always require at least one conference paper as the prior work. – Karnivaurus Jun 3 '16 at 14:52
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    The second paragraph is terrible advice. In (most areas of) computer science, conference publications really do have more value/visibility/prestige/impact than journal papers. If you're a computer scientist, publishing only in journals significantly decreases the visibility and impact of your work. – JeffE Jun 3 '16 at 15:33
  • I disagree. It's true tha in some areas of computer science, conference publications do have more value/visibility/prestige/impact than journal papers. But most of the university and research centers hiring committees, and most of the funding agencies, will give more importance to your journal publications. If you're a scientist, publishing mainly in conference proceedings significantly decreases the impact of your work. – DavideChicco.it Jun 6 '16 at 13:12
  • In computer science, hiring committee members and funding agency reviewers are other computer scientists. In this case, the greater value/visibility/prestige/impact of high-quality conference publications is of course a career benefit. – lighthouse keeper Jun 6 '16 at 13:25

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