What are conference proceedings?

The simple definition of conference proceedings is something like this: a collection of academic papers presented at a meeting or conference of a professional association. However, many of the words like meeting and conference, which make up this definition, are interchangeable with other terms… and often are. If you are not an academic or an engineer, you will find the following extended explanation helpful.

For starters, the term conference can also be replaced under the following conditions:

  • Meeting
  • Symposium
  • Exposition
  • Colloquium
  • Workshop
  • Exhibition
  • Confabulation (yes, confabulation — I wasn’t imagining it)

The term production can also be replaced under the following conditions:

  • Documents
  • Manuscripts
  • Abstracts (short report — paragraph to 1 page)
  • Extended abstracts (2-5 pages)
  • Presentations

And the deadline association can be exchanged with any organization such as: society, agency, research foundation, council, institute, corporation, etc.

Although conferences can be focused on any academic topic, from the humanities and social sciences to the natural and applied sciences, they are often focused on a specific discipline. For example, a conference organized by the International Society of Veterinary Acupuncture will feature 30-40 papers, all focused on, well… veterinary acupuncture. This focus provides a depth of coverage unlike any other scholarly publication. In fact, one of the truly unique qualities of conference papers lies in the fact that they are compiled from scientific papers by many people, which makes their character distinctly different from scientific books, textbooks or journals.

A conference paper title can include as few as 5-10 papers or up to 2000 papers. Some conferences are held every year or every two years, three years, etc. Most collection publications are called “monographs” (stand-alone), and others are part of a series. For example, the Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Series might have a symposium titled “Three-Dimensional Nano- and Microphotonics,” which is volume #1014 in the series.

They are relatively cost-effective sources for academic research, as they are cheaper than their more expensive cousins, journals – and tend to have more content than journals, although they are slightly less prestigious. Conference proceedings often include new scientific findings, innovations, methodologies and best practices, particularly in the fields of science, engineering and technology. They provide a platform for researchers to identify potential collaborators and can influence work in related disciplines. It is at these important national and international conferences that research results are reported and discussed for the first time – long before they are officially published in journals and textbooks.

Hopefully, the next time someone mentions conference proceedings, you won’t have a blank look on your face.

Source by Dave A Curran