Conference literature — the papers and abstracts stemming from professional meetings in science and other academic fields — is becoming increasingly important in academia. There are three main reasons for the importance of this unique genre. First, it is a valuable tool for disseminating information. Second, the information given at these conferences is not always available from other sources. Finally, the short publication cycle allows a real-time look at modern trends and new insights in the scientific world.
1. A Valuable Source of Information
Researchers and academics devote a significant amount of time and resources to conference participation. These conferences form a large part of the interdisciplinary discourse that takes place in the scientific community. And in a world where science is increasingly disparate and specialized, conferences play an increasingly important role in the inter-connectedness of scientists and researchers. A large part of this dissemination takes the form of abstracts, papers, and posters presented at these conferences — and the sheer number of conferences alone means that a large volume of information is exchanged.
2. Information That’s Not Always Available Elsewhere
Another important aspect of conference papers is that the abstracts often constitute the first public revelation of new innovations and insights from researchers around the globe. In addition, the University of Notre Dame’s What Are Conference Proceedings? site notes that the information shared at these conferences might not be available anywhere else — at least not in the short term. This is because research presented at these proceedings may not be published in article form for months or even years after the conference itself.
3. A Real-Time Look at the Latest Research
Information from conferences may eventually be published in journals as full-fledged articles. However,the publication cycle for the abstracts from conference proceedings is much shorter than it is for these traditional articles —they are often available as a handout at the conference or in various electronic versions that can be accessed either just before or during the course of the conference. According to the University of Notre Dame, this shorter cycle makes conference publications an excellent way for researchers to keep up with the very latest trends and innovations — and thus stay on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries.
Conference papers play a vital role in the academic world because they provide a vital means of inter-disciplinary communication in the scientific community, and the information presented at conferences may not always be available from other sources. Also, early access to information allows researchers to get a real-time look at the latest scientific developments.