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Increase your conference-paper-to-journal-article conversion rate

How I write an academic paperNote that I said “increase”, not “increasing” in the title of this post. I was HORRIBLE at doing this, although lately I’ve been improving. I have committed this mistake in the past, where I write some phenomenal conference papers, and then I let them sit there, languishing. Worst. Decision. Ever. I have two conference papers (one from 2005 and one from 2006) that would have been stellar (and well-cited) journal articles, had I put in the work, effort and hours to make them into journal manuscripts and send them off.

So, in order to increase my own conference-paper-to-journal-article conversion rate (which should be 1 to 1, always!), here is what I am doing:

1) Only accepting conference invitations where I actually have to write a paper.
There’s plenty of conferences where you just have to give a talk and prepare a few Power Point slides. Now, I only go to conferences where I present a paper that I need to write.

2) Submitting the conference paper BEFORE the conference to a journal.
I do this because I know that if I don’t do it, I will feel that I have already completed my work, and as we know, conference papers don’t count, publications do.

3) Using the conference’s feedback and the peer-reviewers’ comments to improve the paper if I get a R&R or a rejection.
My thinking here is – if I managed to write a fantastic paper, and it’s accepted prima facie, all the better. But if not, if it gets a revise-and-resubmit or a rejection, I can use the conference feedback to improve the paper and resubmit.

If you have any tips to increase your conference-paper-to-journal-article conversion rate, please do share on the comments section!

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2 Responses

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  1. Rebecca says

    I wonder about your step number 2, is that permitted? How do you manage that? What do you tell the conference and journal editors when you submit the same paper to two places?

  2. Raul Pacheco-Vega says

    Of course it is permitted. Conference papers are considered to be earlier versions of a document. I tell the conference I’ve already submitted the manuscript for peer review and that I don’t want it published in the conference proceedings as those have pretty much zero value for my academic evaluations (I’m evaluated on journal articles first, then on book chapters, then everything else). Being honest and open works best, in my experience.

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