Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Conference proceedings

I'm working on a conference proceedings paper for a meeting at which I'm giving an invited talk next month. So, are conference proceedings papers worth it? Does anyone actually read these things, even the ones published in peer-reviewed form? Or are they part of a borderline sleazy scheme by some professional societies and journal publishers (hint: I'm thinking of one that begins with "Elsev" and ends with "ier") to extort money from cash-strapped libraries for volumes noone ever examines? Also, what is the appropriate ettiquette regarding these? I get the impression that many of my colleagues would have no problem either farming out the writing to a student (even though they wouldn't get first authorship), or just bailing on the whole proceedings altogether (which I confess I've done before, too, when other demands on my writing time get too big). Opinions, anyone?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would imagine they get read when there isn't another version of the work available. This seems to happen surprisingly often when the work is in serious flux (i.e., if research is progressing so rapidly you have to throw away the slides you wrote on the plane, then throw away some of the plots in the ones that replaced those, etc). I've found a number of nice papers significantly different from their eventual journal counterparts in AGU monographs (basically, glorified conference proceedings), which I found useful in learning what the authors meant and how their thinking developed.

Angry said...

Libraries, what are those? Oh yeah, I think I remember going to one of those when I was an undergrad.

When I've done these, I either try to make them a bit more explanatory, filling in some of the gaps in the literature, or I put in recent results that aren't published elsewhere. Doing the latter means I don't up my publication count, but I tend to be a lazy writer.

Andrey Khavryuchneko said...

I would those proceedings usefull, that are put available on web and get picked with tools like Google Scholar and alike. Haven't been in paper library since I've graduated (10+ yrs)

DM said...

Don't waste your time, Doug. Instead, go on a wild drinking binge with your students.

Ok, maybe not.

Anonymous said...

Conference proceedings are really useless:
1) Often, you find a paper being cited is a proceedings paper, but you can't find the paper anywhere, not online, not in your school's library either.
2) It makes the publication list appear very long with lots of conference proceedings paper, but the cv actually looks pathetic.

Doug Natelson said...

Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm almost done with this thing. The problem is that it does have my name and my student's name on it, so I really can't bring myself to do a shoddy job. Angry, that's just the take on it I'm pursuing, and your comment about libraries is dead-on. Andrey and anonymous I and II, I'll probably put the manuscript up on cond-mat so that people can find it. DM, have a fun time on your vacation.

zk said...

I'm with Dan on this one...

WebVisible said...

I would imagine they get read when there isn't another version of the work available.

Alfonso Fanjul said...

I would imagine they get read when there isn't another version of the work available.