Choosing a conference

When choosing a conference, consider the relevance of your research to the stated conference theme.You may also want to think about how broad the conference topic is.  At an early stage of your career, it might be preferable to choose a  focused conference, where you will be able to attend the majority of the sessions and where it will be easier as a newcomer to network with other researchers in your field.

It is also important to check if it is a quality conference.  There are increasingly examples of bogus or vanity conferences. These may be organised purely to make money from registration fees and sometimes also from charges for hotel accommodation, meals, transportation, etc. They are often sparsely attended, may have no prominent or relevant speakers from whom to learn or with whom to establish a network, may be cancelled with no return of fees and have little or no academic credibility. It is therefore important to make sure you choose a conference carefully using the suggestions below.

Choosing a quality conference
  • Ask for recommendations: look for conferences recommended to you by your colleagues or your supervisor
  • Consider the prestige of the sponsor or publisher: look for conferences sponsored by scholarly or professional societies or associations. Do double check that they are indeed connected to the conference
  • Establish the credibility of the conference organiser: check who they are and their affiliation, for example by considering if their contact details are consistent with where they pertain to work or who they claim to represent
  • Be wary of very generic conferences that combine many fields of research. Quality conferences usually cover a particular discipline, subject area or niche topic.
  • Review outputs from past conferences:  conferences can be annually or regularly held events. Check the outputs from previous conferences and the prestige of the authors or the presenters. Conference papers from quality conferences may be indexed in library databases such as Web of Science and IEEE Xplore, etc.  In the case of a one-off conference, have a look at who the advertised plenary speakers are as an indication of quality.
  • Be wary of unsolicited invitations: quality conferences rarely solicit papers directly from individuals. Instead, join appropriate academic networks and look for calls for conference submissions sent to the academic community.
  • Check if there is a review process for submissions: quality conferences usually receive a large number of submissions, not all of which will be accepted. Be wary of promises of instant, automatic acceptance as this may indicate no quality control on the content of the conference. In computer science, there is a culture of publishing in conferences as a main dissemination route for research outcomes. Conference paper submissions in computer science are therefore often peer reviewed.
  • Establish the process for publication of papers: conferences often produce proceedings containing all or selected papers from the conference. Check if publication of the proceedings is intended and what you can expect in terms of editorial processes.  If there is a promise to publish in a journal or proceedings, check the quality of the journal in advance of submitting to the conference.