Where Should I Present My Paper? Conference Choice and Publication Success

Dissemination is a major point in resesarch. You examine a specific research question from a (you hope!) unique perspective, you get interesting results – of course you want to share this with the rest of the world! Or, at least, with the scientific community.

The final aim, and how to get there

The final aim in the dissemination process is publication in a good journal. Finance journals are frequently ranked on a scale from A to D, with the top 3 journals (Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies) getting an A+ ranking. And to get a chance to publish in such journals, you want input for your paper to improve it. So you attend conferences and present your results to a live audience in hope of helpful feedback. Also, reviewers may view presentation at a renowned conference as an indicator of a high-quality paper. But which conferences should you attend? Is there a link between conference choice and later publication in a well-ranked journal?

Conferences and journal publication

In their 2017 Journal of Empirical Finance paper “Finance Conference Quality and Publication Success: A Conference Ranking”, Reinartz and Urban examine the relation between conferences and journal publication. In detail, they analyze how many working papers presented at a certain conference get published afterwards in

  • a top 3 journal,
  • an A-ranked journal,
  • any journal.

The authors find considerable differences in publication outcomes, depending on the previous conference presentations. Figure 1 shows the statistics for papers eventually published in any A-ranked journal.

Figure 1: Fraction of papers published in an A-ranked journal

Interestingly, Figure 1 shows that papers on the influential US-American societies’ meeting programs that end up in A journals. E.g., just 50% of papers from the American Finance Association (AFA, publisher of the Journal of Finance) meetings end up in an A-ranked journal.

And if you just want to publish your paper?

If you do not care particularly about journal quality, should you still try these conferences? In Figure 2 and 3, we show the fraction of papers published in any journal that were previously presented at a renowned conference (Figure 2), or at a large conference (Figure 3).

Figure 2: Fraction of papers subsequently published in any journal

Figure 2 shows that the same conferences that signal future publication in an A-ranked journal also signal future publication in any journal. And these conferences are rather competitive – they usually accept less than 15% of submissions.

Figure 3: Fraction of papers presented at large conferences subsequently published in any journal

Presentations at a large consequence also indicate future publication, but the signal is not as positive as for the high-quality conferences in Figure 2. The fraction of large-conference papers which get published lies between 61% and 68%.

Take-away: Plan first, submit second

The main implication: Plan the first step in your dissemination process carefully, depending on where you want to publish your paper. There is a clear link between conferences and journal publication!