Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Double dipping in Political Science

Inside Higher Ed brings up the issue of “double dipping” conference papers, referring to the practice of presenting the same paper (or at least a revised version) at two conferences. PS: Political Science & Politics, which is the “state of the discipline” journal for Political Science, published a series of articles on the topic in its last issue.

The main criticism seems to be that it pads a person’s CV, making it look like they wrote two papers rather than one:

Do those who fill résumés in this way gain an unfair edge over those who give fewer (but perhaps more original) papers?

The answer is a resounding “no” because it is based on the idea that conference papers are an important part of getting hired or even receiving merit pay. In Political Science, as in much of academia, what matters are refereed journal articles (or book chapters) not conference papers. As a member of a hiring committee, I am largely uninterested in your conference papers except to the extent that they became articles. If you present a paper twice and get it published then you are succeeding. The hiring committee (or at least all the ones I’ve been on) looks at the single publication, not really at the two conference papers that led to it.

In some ways, padding the conference paper section of your CV with multiple papers can be negative if you don’t have many publications. What it suggests is that you’re not translating your papers into articles.

And if you’re wondering, yes, I have double dipped.


MSS 7:14 PM  

Yeah, few things are more irrelevant on a CV than conference papers.* I have never listed them on my CV. But from casual observation, I seem to be in the distinct minority.

* Well, I can think of one: "Invited presentations," meaning my pals at U of ____ wanted me to come and drink beer with them. (Nothing at all wrong with that; just keep it off the CV.)

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