Computer Laboratory

Writing papers and attending conferences

New research results should be disseminated through conferences presentations and journal publications. Writing and presenting papers is an important part your training as a research student. Everyone – student, supervisors and the Laboratory – wants publication submissions to be successful, so here are some practical guidelines publishing your work.

  • You must discuss possible publications with your supervisor, to establish that there is good material for a publication and to help choose an appropriate conference or journal for the work. Make sure that contributions by others (and sponsors) are properly acknowledged.
  • Start work in good time and do not leave submission to the final deadline.
    • Every paper should be read by at least one colleague and one member of the academic staff before submission, and you will need time to accommodate any suggestions that they may make. Your supervisor may well want to see the revised version before submission as well.
    • If appropriate, check that any intellectual property has been protected before publishing.
    • Clearance from industrial sponsors may take even longer.
  • Think about the cost of attending a conference before submitting a contribution.
    • Students attached to research projects may be able to charge conference attendance to the grant. Check with the Principal Investigator.
    • Students with industrial sponsors should ask their supervisors to seek support from the company.
    • The Laboratory may be able to help with the cost, but it is important to apply well in advance using the standard expenses form with a note of support from your supervisor.
  • Requests for support will be considered more favourably if the cost is shared with others, such as:
    • a student travel grant from the conference,
    • your college,
    • the Cambridge Philosophical Society (but remember that applicants must have been Fellows for at least a year, so join early),
    • professional bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering (for UK citizens),
    • similar bodies for those from other countries.
  • The Laboratory uses its budget for transferable skills training to support conference attendance, so it is important that you have completed your log sheets for earlier years in order to be considered.
  • If your paper is accepted, pat yourself on the back. Then:
    • Get even more people to read it and take even more care revising it before submitting the final copy. If English is not your native language, make sure that the text has been carefully reviewed by someone fluent. Your reputation and the reputation of the Computer Laboratory depend on it!
    • Practise conference presentations on a few members of your research group.
    • If appropriate, prepare a poster and some handouts. Poster design is quite hard; just walk round the Laboratory to see some very good examples and some less good ones. Seek advice from the authors of those you like.
    • Register early, and book travel and accommodation in good time for reduced rates. Check any visa requirements in good time. Register for the University's travel insurance. Reception will do all this for you, but will need to see the approved expenses form.
    • Other publications by the organisers are often available cheaply at conferences. Please talk to the Librarian to see if there are any earlier conference proceedings or other material missing from our collection that you could buy. Don't forget to donate your copy of the proceedings to the Library when you return.