I want to submit a paper for an ACM conference and I see that there are two dates like this:

Full Papers

Abstracts due: May 10, 2013 Papers due: May 17, 2013

The issue is that I am still working in tabulating the results from my experiments and I do not think that I will reach the deadline of May the 10th. Can I skip the presentation of the Abstract and submit the full paper on the other date? or should I prepare the abstract and only submit that in the first date?

Any advice will be great, thanks.

  • I don't know about ACM conferences, but in my field, if a conference publishes full text papers, abstracts are submitted first and selections made for presentations. Full-text papers are then invited for accepted abstracts, and subjected to full review. If you haven't had an abstract accepted, you aren't invited to submit a paper. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 0:47

3 Answers 3



It's a deadline. Follow it.

Program committees ask for abstracts early to streamline the reviewing process. Asking them to make a special exception for you because you're not ready yet is unfair to the program committee, who would have to do extra work (however small) to accommodate your late submission, and to the hundreds of authors who got their abstracts in on time.

The issue is that I am still working in tabulating the results from my experiments

The tabulated results of your experiments are not going to appear in your abstract anyway; only the conclusions from your experiments will. If you don't know yet what those conclusions will be, you're not ready to submit. So don't. There's always another conference.

But! Remember that you are allowed to revise your abstract in the week before the paper submission deadline. It is perfectly acceptable to submit a tentative abstract, which describes your results in enough detail to assign reviewers, and then include a more detailed/updated abstract in your paper submission. If your conference is using EasyChair or HotCRP, you can change your abstract in the electronic submission form, and the committee will no longer see the old abstract.

If you make significant changes to your abstract in the paper submission, you risk angering the program committee members who were assigned your paper, who could (legitimately) reject your paper without review. So don't do that.


The point of having of an abstract submission first is for the organisers to have a rough idea of the number of submissions and organise a bidding for the reviewers (Why do some conference have an "abstract submission" before the "paper submission"?).

Of course, it depends on the organisers of the conference, but if you don't submit an abstract, you might not be able to submit the full article later on. You can always submit an abstract first, and then withdraw your submission if you cannot make it by the full paper deadline. So you haven't much to lose in submitting an abstract first.

If you don't submit the abstract, you can always try to submit the full paper by the final deadline by contacting the conference organisers and explain why you weren't able to submit the abstract first, however, note that pretty much all authors are in the same situation, in that the paper might not be finalised by the abstract deadline.

  • 3
    Usually, if you don't submit an abstract, you won't be able to submit a full paper later on. There might be rare exceptions, but that's the general rule that I would expect. Therefore, unless you see a clear indication to the contrary in the call for papers, it is essential to submit an abstract if you think you might want to submit a full paper.
    – D.W.
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 0:32
  • @D.W. There are some small workshops/conferences which would allow you to submit a paper without an abstract if they haven't received enough submissions by the abstract deadline. However, I completely agree that you cannot count on it.
    – user102
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 8:18

It's very simple: just ask the contact person. Don't assume.

Email the contact person listed on the conference website (e.g. the PC chair), and proceed according to their reply:

  • If they answer "yes", you can skip the abstract.
  • If they answer "no", you can't skip the abstract.
  • If they don't answer and there are only a couple of days or so left until the abstract deadline, you can't skip the abstract.

Note: The reason for abstract submission deadlines is usually to allow the PC to effectively distribute the refereeing workload amongst themselves. For this reason, changes to the abstract after the abstract deadline are typically allowed (that is, unless you switch it to a completely different kind of paper). Again, though, that's also something you need to confirm in advance.

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