Presenting at Conferences

Attending and presenting at conferences are an essential part of academic careers and the dissimination of our results. Below, we've summarized some thoughts on what role conferences can or should play in the planning of an academic career. Further down, you'll also find a list of regular conferences that are of interest to the lab.

1) Conferences vs. Journal papers: At the end, it's (journal) papers that count. For linguistics, I'd say about three conferences with proceedings are like a journal paper. For computational linguistics, prestigious conference proceedings (ACL, EMNLP, NIPS, and, to a lesser extent, COLING, NAACL) are basically the same as a journal paper. But for cognitive science, conference proceedings (a) are rarely cited and (b) too many of them might raise questions as to why there is no follow up article.

Conferences are a great opportunity to get feedback from outside of your bee hive, to meet new collaborators, and to mingle with folks. They are also a great way to get to know and introduce yourself to a new field of research. But conferences are also distractions - you need to write abstracts and prepare the presentation and that always takes more time than you think. Conferences can easily become a cheap buzz, due to the immediacy of the feedback (which, however, is also shortlived). Also, think about whether your project is better suited for direct journal publication. Any thing your write consumes time. Even if you look at short paper abstracts (CogSci, NIPS), and think that they are a great way to start your paper, keep in mind that a good paper is self-contained. So, there will be extra work involved in making the short paper a good stand-alone paper. Whether it makes sense to submit such a paper rather than to go straight for a journal paper depends on (a) the proportion of time that will be put into making that short-paper stand alone (i.e. time that will not contribute to your overall project write-up), (b) how important this conference is to you -- including whether it would be a good idea to get some "visibility" on the job market, (c) maybe whether you fear that someone else may talk about this before you do, (d) how awesome the conference location is ;).

2) Plan ahead: Be aware of the major annual conferences in your subfield (see below). Be part of the relevant email lists, announcing deadlines (CUNY's sentproc, the AMLaP list, and Linguist List are a good start; for some of you funknet, lingtype, or the international corpus list might be a good idea, too). Most regular meetings have their deadlines around the same time every year. Put a reminder into your calendar a few weeks before that time to check whether the deadline has been posted (see also the CLS calendar, which has many of these deadlines).

3) Remind your collaborators and advisors and start early: Please keep in mind that your collaborators and advisors may need time to look over your abstract presentations. As a rule of thumb, remind them at least a month ahead. Keep in mind that they may have other commitments. For myself, for short 1-2 page abstracts, having a complete draft about 5 days in advance of the deadline is usually ok. But if many people in the lab attend the conference (CUNY, AMLaP, LSA), then please give me 7-10 days at least. For short paper abstracts of 6-9 pages, a complete draft should typically be ready about 2 weeks in advance, preferably more. See also our notes on abstract writing.

4) How many conferences should I plan to present at? As a rule of thumb, I'd say present at least one conference a year during your graduate years, perhaps two, but not more than three (with the possible exception of year 4 or 5). In planning ahead, keep in mind that there are workshops in addition to the regular meetings. These workshops may fit your interests very well. So don't book your calendar full of conferences.

Regular Meetings and Conferences of Interest to the Lab

1. Psycholinguistics

2. Cognitive Science

3. Language and Cognitive Development

4. Computational Linguistics

Joel Tetreault maintains a calendar with call for papers deadlines and conferences dates for a lot of the computational linguistic conferences. He does not include some of the dialogue specific ones such as:

5. Linguistics

6. Statistics

HlpLab: Conferences (last edited 2011-09-30 18:09:07 by AndrewWatts)

MoinMoin Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux