Q: Can I submit my paper as a conference proceeding when it is accepted by a journal that has no relation with the conference?

Detailed Question -

I made a conference presentation, after which I was invited by the conference organizer to submit my paper as a proceeding. However, the content I presented at the conference was accepted later by a journal not related to the conference. In such a case, would it be acceptable for me to submit my paper as a conference proceeding?

1 Answer to this question

We would like to first summarize the situation to ensure we have understood it correctly, especially as there are some nuances involved here.

So, you made a conference presentation, which is typically for the initial/preliminary results or the technical aspects of one’s research. Later, after the conference, you were invited by the conference organizer to submit your presentation in the form of a conference proceeding. Now, during this time, either you were also invited by a journal to submit the paper on which the conference presentation was based or sought to submit to this journal. However, either this journal was not present at the conference or its aim/scope/focus is not related to the focus of the conference and perhaps even your paper. So, you are now wondering whether it is fine – perhaps both ethically and scholastically – for you to submit your fuller paper to this journal.

If our understanding is correct, firstly, a note about the conference presentation...

Ideally, the decision to include your paper as a conference proceeding should have taken place before the conference got over, actually, even before it started. Ideally, you should have sent an abstract to them before the conference, on the basis of which you would have received an invite/acceptance for presenting your research at the conference and also having it published as a proceeding. If this didn’t happen and you still got to present your paper, perhaps it was due to some last-minute decision or something similar.

Now, to decide, you will have to make the following considerations...

About the journal you are deciding on submitting your complete paper to, you need to consider whether they approached you or you approached them. If they approached you, and without knowing anything about this journal, and assuming that either they were not there at the conference or have a focus that is not similar to that of your paper, there is a chance this journal might be a bogus or predatory journal. [To be sure, you may quickly want to check the various sections and items on the journal site based on this checklist: 10 Point checklist to identify predatory publishers] If it does seem to be a bogus journal, obviously, we would not suggest submitting to it. In case you already have, we would suggest withdrawing from it.

To really answer your question, it is quite acceptable to present your research both as a conference proceeding and as a journal article. However, it is typically done in the sequence of first, conference proceeding, and then, research paper. Also, the journal article has to be at least 30% different from the conference proceeding. This would happen naturally if you first publish your research as a proceeding and then as an article, because the proceeding has technical content and the journal article would need to have the complete content (introduction, methods, discussion, conclusion, and so on). From a logical perspective, we would suggest following the same sequence: first publishing it as a conference proceeding, then developing it into a complete paper, and then submitting that paper to a journal (whether the present one or a different one).

Another factor on the basis of which you could decide is whether the aim/focus of the journal is similar to that of your paper. If so, and once your paper is completely ready (and if it isn’t a bogus journal), you may consider submitting to them.

For more insights on submitting your research as a conference proceeding and as a journal article, you may refer to these resources:

We hope that helps. All the best for making a sound decision.