Librarians are great at evaluating information sources. It’s an everyday activity for librarians, and that means that we have some great tips to pass on. Here are my tips on considering which conference to present a paper at, and how you might evaluate a conference. Librarians present papers too, from time to time!
Start by finding out about events and conferences in your area of interest. Some sources include:
- Adverts in published journals
- Via your network of contacts (Including on social media: and of course you can always explore Piirus to expand your network!)
- Websites/newsfeeds of societies, prominent research centres in your field & publishers
- Subject specialist portals or social networking sites, eg H-Net Announcements is a good source of conference listings in the Humanities and Social Sciences, whilst the IEEE conference page lists more than 1,100 annual events which it sponsors, worldwide.
- Online event listings sites like Eventbrite and Lanyrd offer alerting services based on your interests
Supposing you’ve found an event of interest, or perhaps you’ve been invited to present a paper somewhere. Here are my ten questions to ask yourself, by way of conference evaluation:
- What date is it? Does the timing of paper submission, etc, fit your schedule?!
- Will you have to pay to attend, or to get there, even as a speaker? Can you find the funds?
- Is it hosted by/associated with a respected organisation/ group/ individual (eg speakers already booked)?
- Can you find information about previous conferences by that organisation or research group, and what does the information tell you?
- What scale or scope of audience is expected? What kind of audience will be there and are they people you want to reach?
- Are there likely to be other papers delivered there which will be of interest to you?
- Will there be people there who you want to meet? (Other researchers; commissioning editors from publishers with whom you can discuss a book proposal; practitioners who could participate in your study… etc)
- Are the conference papers peer reviewed? This could add kudos to your paper as a research output, but would require a lot more work in preparing it. Or it could be that you present a paper that can be polished and published later in a journal of your choice.
- Are conference proceedings published? If so, are they indexed? If indexed, where are they indexed? Inclusion in prestigious databases like Web of Science or subject specialist sites could give your paper an audience well beyond the conference attendees.
- What kind of delivery of paper is expected: a poster, a formal reading of a paper, or a more interactive session: can you deliver that style?
I didn’t mention location: of course, conferences held in sunny or interesting places might offer an added incentive! What is most important to you when considering a conference to attend? What else might you look for, in a conference?
Now you’ve chosen a conference, don’t forget to read our Science correspondents’ tips on preparing to attend a conference.
Image credits: Pixabay