It is (of course) a rule that the speaker's affiliation appears alongside their name in their presentation at a conference.

What's the best practice in the case of no current affiliation? Did you have personal instances, either as speaker or audience?

(Please note: The question is not about publications, which has already been discussed e.g. here.)


Saying that one can simply write their name and nothing else should be obvious and straightforward to everyone. What the question is about is suggestions that either look better than this "trivial solution", or address the fact that it is unusual.

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    It is (of course) a rule — Nope. It is, of course, a custom.
    – JeffE
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 13:32
  • @JeffE is it sure that this comment contains information? :) Of course everything is a custom unless it is written in a law or you have signed something about it.
    – Helen
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 13:44
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    What I mean is: It's not a rule in the sense that violating it has serious consequences. (As opposed to faking your data, plagiarism, claiming credit for other people's work, gift authorship, double publication, and similar breaches of professional ethics, none of which violate the law or any prior written agreement.) Having only your name on the title slide is fine.
    – JeffE
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 13:51
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    "no current affiliation". Was there one during the time you made the research you are presenting?
    – user64845
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 18:17
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    @Helen not really. If the presentation relates to something you did on a sabbatical, for instance, you list it, mentioning both your affiliations. If you don't have another, you list the former one. As long as you don't claim that the affiliation is current, it isn't a "serious mistake"... Commented May 8, 2017 at 4:33

3 Answers 3


I will base my answer upon a statement from the OP's comments:

In a conference though, mentioning an affiliation which is not current would be a quite serious mistake.

As I have expressed before in another answer, I do not see any reason why an "affiliation" needs to be something explicitly formalized, or why affiliations need to be mutually exclusive. As such, I disagree with the above statement.

At least in fields where the conference paper is an actual publication, and the presentation is simply a part of paper publication via the conference, basically, the author details (including affiliation) in the conference presentation on a paper should be the same as those indicated on the paper. Some information can be added, though:

  • The author who presents the paper in the conference may be highlighted.
  • If someone other than one of the authors presents the paper, their name may be listed on the presentation (in such a way that it is clear they are the presenter and none of the authors).
  • And, to address this question, if someone would like to update their contact or other details, they can indicate the changes during the presentation.

Lastly, for what it's worth, when you present a paper on a conference and that paper was created as a part of your work in your previous job, you are affiliated with that previous employer by the very act of presenting on behalf of your former position.

Therefore, I suggest the following course of action: List your affiliation as it is stated on the paper. Next to that, add something like "(now independent researcher)".

  • Thanks, this is definitely an alternative, although it leads me to rephrase the question: Has someone had personal experience, either as presenter or audience, of such a case? How out-of-place/commonplace did it look?
    – Helen
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:27
  • @Helen: I have seen quite some presentations where the presenter would say something like "While the slides here say I'm at University A, which is where I worked on the work I talked about, you can actually find me at University B since last week." I cannot name any specific examples because it did not strike me as unusual in the least. Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:36
  • Yes, but changing affiliation is different.
    – Helen
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Helen: How so? I fail to see the difficulties you seem to perceive. Commented May 8, 2017 at 15:26

The most effective solution I have seen is use geographic locations instead of institutions. This also solves the issue of listing every affiliation a particular speaker has if they have more than a couple appointments or titles (or even if they have recently moved to a new institution, perhaps).

  • I think that what you mention applies a lot more to publications (see also link in the question). I wonder if this has been sighted at a conference.
    – Helen
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 2:54
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    Geographic locations might (subconsciously) be mistaken for universities or institutes "commonly connected" with that location.
    – skymningen
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 8:14
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    If you developed the work during your work at a specific institution, by not specifically mentioning it you are effectively "robbing" that institution of deserved credit. IMHO, there are no shortcuts, the best way is to actually be truthful and say "work developed at XXX". As long as you don't lie (even by omission), it should work. And institution<-> location isn't a bijection, that would just open the way for misinterpretations... Commented May 8, 2017 at 11:25
  • @FábioDias I think that of all the answers+comments up to now this is the most substantial. However, again, I am afraid that the focus of the original question was not made clear to you. The focus is not "how do I omit the previous institute"; the focus is "what is a good-looking [for lack of another word] way for no current institute".
    – Helen
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:28
  • Yes, I provided this answer as a solution to the problem of not having a current affiliation. Individual parts of work should be identified in the context of where they were produced to give full credit.
    – Harry
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 16:11

For the record, I eventually only wrote my name on the slides.

In my intro I mentioned verbally my field (which was still physics, but a different field than that of the conference), and I have the feeling that this made the matter even more trivial to the audience's eyes. In any case the issue didn't arise in any of the subsequent discussions.

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