18 August 2009

What do you do with the poster?

Nature PrecedingsYou’ve lugged your poster all the way to a conference, given your talk, had people compliment you on how beautiful it was, to which you say, “Thank you! It’s all thanks to the Better Posters blog,” lug it all the way back home...

And then what?

Not so long ago, almost all you could do was maybe to hang it up in the corridor of your building. Now, there are a few archive sites for them. I’ve dipped into ePosters.net for some poster critiques, to name one.

Nature has recently launched a site for pre-publication results called Nature Precedings. The Ecological Society of America recently sent out an email following their annual meeting encouraging participants to consider archiving their talks and posters. ESA secretary David Inouye cited these advantages:

  1. You can cite it in job applications or grant proposals.

  2. You can point prospective students to it, as well as anyone who wasn’t able to make it to your presentation or poster during the meeting.

  3. It’s free to post the presentation, and you won't have to worry about archiving it elsewhere or maintaining it on your own server.

  4. We may in the future be able to link these archived presentations to the online meeting program.

  5. Historians of science and future students of ecology will be pleased to have the additional source material when they’re writing their books about you.

That said, there are some potential disadvantages. The biggest one is that archiving something could run you into problems with editors when you try to publish. Currently, most journals abide by the Ingelfinger rule, named after Franz J. Ingelfinger, the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, who declared in 1969 that they would not consider a paper for publication if its results were published elsewhere. Although conference abstracts are usually not considered a problem, archiving a complete presentation is new. It’s not clear how editors might react.

Of course, you can always archive your work after the paper is accepted for publication.

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