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I have got accepted for an SPIE conference. However, right now they are awaiting a manuscript for the SPIE Proceedings. Their webpage states that this manuscript has to be at least 6 pages.

The problem is that SPIE Proceedings are not peer-reviewed and most of the material I want to present in the conference is already published in a high-impact-factor journal.

My question is: what is the actual policy of SPIE (the one they really apply, not the official one). I want to present the results in the conference but I don't care about the publication. Does anybody have any experience it it is acceptable to skip the manuscript or make it just an two-pages extended abstract? My presentation has already been accepted for the conference based on the one-page short abstract.

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    I'm not familiar with SPIE, but since SPIE probably just sponsors the conference, it would be better to ask directly to the conference organizers, because in the end it's up to them. – Massimo Ortolano Jan 2 '17 at 20:47
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    Did the conference you submit to have a paragraph on its website that says something like, "By submitting an abstract, I agree to the following conditions: An author or coauthor (including keynote, invited, oral, and poster presenters) will... Submit a manuscript (6 pages minimum; 20 pages maximum) for publication in the Proceedings of SPIE in the SPIE Digital Library"? – ff524 Jan 2 '17 at 21:05
  • @ff524, yes it does. But what is the real consequence if I fail to comply? – Maciek D. Jan 2 '17 at 21:58
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SPIE does require the multi-page abstract as far as I know - in fact, this is one of the reasons some of the groups I worked with don't publish there, because it's a lot of work for a paper that isn't in a formal journal.

The technical answer to your question is that your submission could be withdrawn if you don't submit the abstract, as per their guidelines:

Conditions of Acceptance

By submitting an abstract, I agree to the following conditions:

An author or coauthor (including keynote, invited, oral, and poster presenters) will:

• Register for the conefrence & pay the fee.
• Attend the meeting.
• Make the presentation as scheduled in the program.

• Submit a manuscript (6 pages minimum for LASE & OPTO; 4 pages minimum for BiOS; 20 pages maximum) for publication in the Proceedings of SPIE in the SPIE Digital Library.
...

However, your main question as to what really happens if you don't submit the abstract? Here is my guess: I have tried to access various presented papers on the SPIE online proceedings after the conference, only to find them missing the full 6-page abstract (only having the 1-paragraph abstract). This implies that they do not retract/adversely alter your submission's status if you fail to turn in this full six page abstract. I don't have any better evidence than this though. (These were not invited papers either, but usually papers from companies who may not have wanted to divulge too many details in a full 6-page abstract.) It's possible that they submitted the full paper after the conference and I just didn't check again later.

Also, if you've already published the work in another high-impact journal, then I'd have thought it would be pretty easy for you to put the 6-page abstract together, and it won't impact your future publication plans too much. You can include new material in your presentation but omit this from the 6-page paper to prevent jeopardizing future publication plans.

Lastly, in case you do want to include new material in the paper, sometimes journals will accept papers that have previously been submitted to conferences, with the understanding that much of the work has been published before but at lower quality and usually lower standards than the Journal. One often does more rigorous analysis, includes additional details and work (measurements or simulations) for the subsequent journal pub. I often find conference papers with accompanying higher-quality (often longer) journal papers by the same groups, on the same subject, but with additional info/rigor in the Journal paper.

Update:

I spoke to an SPIE rep at the conference, and he said that you can indeed submit "anything you want" (my words) in the submission, and that even if the paper was too short they wouldn't penalize you in any way. He did say that if you did that all the time they may become concerned, but in general the page numbers were a "guideline", not something to have your presentation rejected over.

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    The problem with reusing the published work is that it may be considered a self-plagiarism. Hence, I would need to change the content sufficiently. And 6 pages is really a lot, so I am not convinced if this is worth the effort (but if the risk of having the presentation withdrawn is significant, then it is…) – Maciek D. Jan 3 '17 at 10:25
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    @MaciekD. I completely agree. On the other hand, I think most people look at SPIE Photonics West as just an additional way to advertise their work, and so this practice does not appear to be uncommon. Another way to look at the 6-pg summary is just a way to point the audience to your other published works - you should cite all your other relevant papers as in it. As you said, your presentation (the main point of SPIE PWest) has already been accepted, so pretty much any summary submission will be accepted. Another option is to email the Editor and ask. – Demis Jan 3 '17 at 16:44
  • In terms of self-plagiarism, I guess the main question is: was the abstract new material, or already a summary of published work? If it didn't focus on new material, and summarized previously published work, then I suspect the committee only needs your 6-pg Summary to reflect that - no new content is really necessary. Again, I think many just look at it as a way to get your existing work out to a large audience, rather than a new journal paper. – Demis Jan 3 '17 at 16:48
  • Thanks for the edit. The SPIE rep closes the matter. However, in the end I have decided to make the 6-pages article. I have also noticed that it may depend on the specific conference chair: for one of the Photonics West conferences, my colleague was submitting the manuscript AFTER the congress (having this arranged with the chair). – Maciek D. Feb 14 '17 at 18:38

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