A paper of mine just got accepted to a computer science conference. Due to personal reasons I cannot fly to that conference. I was suggested to ask a friend who flies there to present the paper for me, but I think it may not be a good idea since the friend might be unable to answer questions. So I thought of a different solution: I can rent a room with special video-conferencing equipment and present from there.

Is this solution common? What should be taken into account to implement it?

  • 3
    You should check with the conference organizers. If this was not allowed explicitly, you would look like an arrogant. I would probably recommend another coauthor to present or I would retract the submission altogether. Nov 9, 2017 at 14:38
  • Depending on what field your in, it may be common for people to pull out of conferences. In mine, it's practically de rigueur and it is more common in fields where conferences are significantly less important than journal publications. If you are in a field where something like 75% of the people "wrote" their paper on the plane ride there, you demanding added special treatment and time consuming tech set ups on the organiser's part won't play well. Nov 9, 2017 at 17:16
  • If this was a childcare or an accessibility issue or related from you being in a lower income country, fair game: academic conferences are terrible on all those fronts and we should all demand accommodation. If you just can't be there, well, other people can't be there too. Also, sorry to say, but you'll likely get little engagement via video. Your best bet is to forget the Qs then pre-record, have your friend present, or pull out. Nov 9, 2017 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


You could ask a friend to help you present a recorded or live presentation through his/her mobile phone/laptop.

You may wish to record a short video of your presentation/demonstration (slides + audio) and upload it to YouTube; include a short URL and a large QR code on the last slide.

You will need:

  • Permission from the organizers and/or session chairs (be optimistic!)
  • A colleague/friend who wants to help and can help (e.g., free during your session)
  • Reliable internet connection (Wi-Fi) in the conference room

If the connection fails, your friend could at least present your recorded video presentation.

For engagement by the audience, it is the quality of your work that matters most: your excellent remote/recorded presetation is likely to be more engaging and better received than an average one presented in-person.

I tried a slightly modified version of this myself with the help of a colleague, and it was - unexpectedly - successful and well-received, and several people watched the online video shortly later.

P.S: When a computer science conference in 2017/2018 works as in 1980, I believe a cultural change is needed. Teleconferencing is smarter and greener solution than requiring physical presence for everyone, and allows wider participation.


I have never seen this done, and only heard of it being done to accommodate very famous people who have difficulties with travel (e.g., Stephen Hawking, Edward Snowden). So I suspect extremely uncommon and that no one will make a special effort to make this possible for you. However, it never hurts to ask; why don’t you email the conference organizers to ask them? Maybe you’ll get lucky and they are open-minded (or ecologically-minded - it’s worth stressing the savings in carbon emissions from the avoided travel) and happen to have the necessary equipment in the venue they are renting.

By the way, when you contact the organizers to ask about this, I also suggest apologizing for asking the question only after your paper was accepted. When you submit the paper to a conference you are implicitly promising to come and present the paper if it is accepted, so it would have been more responsible to ask the question before deciding to submit the paper, and to have a definite plan of what alternative arrangements you would have in place in case the answer was negative.

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    That is said, sometime the presenter finds only days before the conference that he/she is unable to attend (declined visa, illness, emergencies) after having paid for the registration fees (and travel/hotel bookings) which may not be refundable and not covered by travel insurence.
    – Orion
    Nov 9, 2017 at 21:36

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