Decline in conference paper numbers

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Decline in conference paper numbers

Postby mgcrisp » Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:24 pm

It is interesting to note the rapid decrease in conference papers reported for the HERDC return over the last 10 year. At the same time as journal article numbers have increased by around 65%; the number of conference papers has decreased by around 17%. There is a lot of pressure on academics to publish - and publish every year; or multiple times a year - and no longer is it "publish or perish" but more like "publish an ERA eligible output in a high quality outlet or perish". There is only so much that the HERDC numbers can tell you though; for example, does this decline mean that Australia universities are publishing fewer conference papers - or are they just reporting fewer conference papers?
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Re: Decline in conference paper numbers

Postby DaFinchi » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:35 am

This is very interesting, as we've observed a similar decline in Proceedings Papers and rise in Journal Articles over time (see the CSIRO Science Health & Excellence Reports, which are made publically available).

A quick check on Web of Science indicates that conference proceedings counts for the whole of Australia were rising to a peak of nearly 7,400 in 2007, before dropping rapidly and consistently since then, to nearly 3,100 in 2013. So I don't think it's just reported levels - Australian researchers really are producing fewer proceedings.

Wasn't HERDC itself introduced in 2007? Is there a difference in the 'credit' you get for a proceeding vs an article?

Possibly a more likely cause was the GFC of that year; there is a more limited range of regional conferences, so a decline in travel budgets may have caused a decline in conference proceedings. However, it's always important to be cautious about causation and correlation, isn't it?
Adam Finch

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Disclosure: I work as an analyst in Science Excellence for CSIRO. Any opinions are expressed as a private individual and may not reflect the official perspective of CSIRO.
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Re: Decline in conference paper numbers

Postby mgcrisp » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:55 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if the peak in conference papers coincided with RQF kicking off (and then being replaced by the ERA). I think there was probably a sector wide mad scramble to publish as much as possible to be RQFable or ERAble. I wonder how many academics dived into their bottom drawer and pulled out that paper they were always supposed to publish but hadn't?

Once the sector realized that conference papers may have an adverse effect on ERA ratings they began to decline. This is just my theory though.

It is like in the early 1990's when universities had to report publications to the department and it fed into funding for the first time. There was a dramatic increase in publication numbers but the majority of those were published in low quality journals - lots of quantity but not the quality.

It is useful to know that it looks like it is a real drop in conference output (as opposed to drop in reporting). I wonder whether these outputs disappear altogether or whether they are published as journal articles instead?
Michael G. Crisp

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Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.
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Re: Decline in conference paper numbers

Postby mgcrisp » Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:59 pm

Congratulations. You will have to check with the conference organizers as to whether conference attendance is a condition of them accepting or publishing your paper. Usually conference organizers would expect you to attend.
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Re: Decline in conference paper numbers

Postby alien10 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:41 pm

I want to say that mgcrisp has given the most important data for us.
just check the proofreading service! for editing your papers.
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