9

It's generally forbidden to submit the same paper at two different venues at the same time. In addition, many computer science conferences have two different submission deadlines: a deadline for the submission of abstracts, followed by another deadline (1-2 weeks later) for the submission of full papers. A complete submission consists of an abstract and the accompanying paper.

Let's say we have a situation that involves two conferences, A and B:

  • Conference A had its abstract and paper submission deadlines some time in October. A's website says that acceptance notifications will be sent to the authors on December 7.
  • Conference B has its abstract submission deadline on December 1 and its paper submission deadline on December 8.

Is it OK to submit a paper to A and an abstract to B simultaneously, cancelling the submission to B in case the paper is accepted at A?

(It surely seems advisable to ask the conference chair of B, but since I know the chair of B personally, I don't feel comfortable asking, since this might come off as a request for favouritism.)

  • 3
    Ask the PC chairs. – JeffE Nov 26 '16 at 18:59
  • Just to add that this is field dependent. Apparently in CS, conferences papers are more like regular papers. In biological sciences it's generally ok to submit similar abstracts in different conferences, as most of the times there is no "full paper" format to be provided later. – BioGeo Nov 27 '16 at 7:29
  • @Leon Meier This sounds more like a practical issue, rather than a moral one. In my particular case, the odds of that happening are very low, since the PCs do not overlap. (The paper is about applying a B-type-of-thing to an A-type-of-problem.) – lighthouse keeper Nov 28 '16 at 6:46
  • Indeed, that's why I said "very low" rather than "zero". – lighthouse keeper Nov 28 '16 at 7:06
  • 1
    That's the first time I ever hear of an obligation to have a straight answer to that question. I think it's perfectly possible to care about the target venue, but to not have a straight answer to that question: the same paper can be equally interesting for different audiences and communities. – lighthouse keeper Nov 28 '16 at 9:11
4

To answer this question, let's recall why many journals and conferences do not allow multiple submissions. So,

Is it OK to submit a paper to A and an abstract to B simultaneously, cancelling the submission to B in case the paper is accepted at A?

  • Multiple submissions are beneficial for authors, since they generally increase the chances for a paper/talk to be accepted and/or reduce the time until acceptance.
  • However, this strategy is not beneficial for journals/conferences, since each venue will spend time and resources on processing the submission (register and peer-review it), and only one journal/conference will eventually publish it. The efforts spent by reviewers of another journal/conference will be wasted.
  • This strategy is also damaging for the community of researchers. Firstly, peer-reviewers and editors are also academics, and they do not have much time to spare, so it is best not to waste it with pointless review process. Secondly, and more importantly, readers generally benefit from well-written and well-edited papers, and this relies on careful and time-demanding peer-review process. Faster acceptance may indicate better organised peer-review process, but it can also mean that the process is superficial (like it is in predator journals and such). By preferring a faster route, one can waste time of highly professional reviewers and also rob himself of a chance to get their valuable advice and improve their paper/talk accordingly.

So the answer is no - it is not OK.

  • 3
    This answer accurately describes the drawbacks of simultaneous submission in general, but I'm not sure if it addresses the specific situation here. Unlike regular submissions, abstracts submitted to conference B will not be subject to a standalone peer-review process - rather, the abstract is an "entry ticket" for submitting a full paper which will be subject to peer review. So I'm not sure if the argument of wasted effort still holds. – lighthouse keeper Nov 27 '16 at 17:07
  • @lighthousekeeper Conference B sets up two deadlines. It is only natural to assume that they are going to do something in between (if not - what's the point of separating them?) It may not be peer review, but it should be some processing of abstracts. – Dmitry Savostyanov Nov 27 '16 at 17:44
  • 1
    Usually, the time between the deadlines is used to assign reviewers to papers. I think the added human effort is close to zero, since the submissions are processed automatically by a conference system, and the reviewers will at this stage pick their preferred abstracts based on interesting keywords, rather than read all abstracts. – lighthouse keeper Nov 28 '16 at 7:01
  • 1
    @lighthousekeeper I don't see where are you going with it. Maybe not all reviewers read all abstracts, but some reviewers still have to read your abstract. If you only use conference B as your plan B, you're going to waste their time. – Dmitry Savostyanov Nov 28 '16 at 9:48
  • 2
    @DmitrySavostyanov My point is: I agree that some time waste is involved, but I'm not sure if the amount of time waste is so large that anyone will care. From my (limited) experience as PC member, the time spent on each individual abstract is minimal, and it seems normal that not all submitted abstracts are followed by a paper. – lighthouse keeper Nov 28 '16 at 13:19
1

There are particular conferences where the "no simultaneous submission" rule is refined so that it explicitely does not apply to abstracts. For instance, the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software (ETAPS) have the following policy:

Submitted papers must be in English presenting original research. They must be unpublished and not submitted for publication elsewhere (this does not apply to abstracts).

Unfortunately, for the conference B that motivated this question, this is not the case.

  • I think that it would be (maybe) OK if conference A included such a clause, not B. I say "maybe" because depending on how it is phrased, it could mean either "it doesn't matter if you submitted this work in a venue where you only submit an abstract (e.g. a workshop or a poster session)" (aka "abstracts are not publications"), or "it doesn't matter if you never submitted more than an abstract about that work (even if the abstract will later become a full publication)". – T. Verron Dec 2 '16 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.