We know it is normal to submit an abstract without having the result published yet. But what about an abstract where there was never a research from the author himself on the proposed topic? Regards

  • 1
    Then it's not called abstract. It's called research proposal.
    – Nobody
    Jul 23 '16 at 14:44
  • 2
    @scaaahu I don't know about the sciences but we do this all the time in literature and the term used is abstract. One submits it to conferences and then once accepted you actually go about writing it (sometimes some time in advance, other times up to the night/morning before) Jul 23 '16 at 14:51
  • To the OP: What is your field? To @guifa : You're right that different fields may have different conventions. Sorry, my bad.
    – Nobody
    Jul 23 '16 at 14:56
  • 3
    @guifa there is a difference between not having done the research and not having written the research up.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 23 '16 at 19:18

In my experience, this it is reasonably common in some engineering and computational science conferences which are organized as minisymposia, which have only presentations, and no peer-reviewed papers or proceedings, when the authors are most of the way to a result and expect to achieve it. The abstracts are often submitted describing the process to date with the results not mentioned or only mentioned including the results so far. I won't say that there has been no research done at all, but it's pretty common in my experience to see partial results submitted as though they were complete. Some of the results are presented having only been completed the night before the talk or the morning before an afternoon session. There are no lies in the abstract but only generic or vague phrases about the results in the abstract, and the attendees come expecting to hear about whatever results are achieved between submission/acceptance and the presentation. I've seen all of this happen in computational areas where running a simulation or computational experiment the night before is sufficient to get the result or negative result to put in the last slides of the talk the night before.

  • 2
    I wanted to add that there is a range of acceptability. Depending on how egregious the disconnect, it is very bad practice. (So at the worst end, some groups routinely submit abstracts equivalent to saying that they will present the results of measuring X on Y when they haven't even acquired sample Y yet). At the benign end, like the example @Bill_Barth mentions, groups write up something a bit vague that still could in principle be satisfied at time of submittal with results available at time of writing, and assume that audience will also be happy to hear anything new in meantime.
    – Carol
    Jul 23 '16 at 20:48

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