Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There can be only one

It’s about that time of year again, conference abstract submission time. Actually, this year isn’t so bad. Unlike most years, most of my research that I want to present is actually completed and the results are already known before submitting the abstract. That’s great because I can show data in the abstract submission, rather that speculating about what I might get done in the next 6 months. Also, I have two very good research results on topics that are linked, but not the same. At this conference, however, both would fall under the same category and be competing for a presentation.

Sessions for this conference are usually split into 4 or 5 presentations of about 15-20 minutes each. There’s no chance of my talks taking up 2 slots in the oral session, which means one will be relegated to the poster session. Unless I manage to convince the session chairs to give me an extended time slot (which I severely doubt), I’ll have to choose. In terms of Highlander, There can be only one.

So my question is, do I choose the project which has the highest impact to the end user and relegate the cool, physics stuff to the poster? Do I use the cool, physics stuff to tease the end results for the user and tell them to come by my poster for more info? Or, do I plead my case with the session chairs for an extended time slot?

The other question I have on this topic is about when is it right to publish something. For instance, I can imagine these research topics completed, with proceedings written in the next two months (well ahead of schedule). Then, the next step is to beef them up from their mini counterparts to full journal papers. This won’t be too difficult because we have a plethora of results. However, should I wait to submit them for journal publication until after the conference? Also, this is research performed at my current PhD/mini-Postdoc University prior to moving to my tenure track university. But it won’t be submitted and presented until after I’ve moved on. Should that count towards publications during my tenure track period? It seems pretty unethical but the people I’ve spoken with seem to suggest it is fair game. Thoughts?

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