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miss-prufrock

Is publishing research much more important than presenting at conferences or colloquiums?

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Hello there.

I've recently begun postgraduate studies, but I'm currently on residency (which is akin to purgatory in academic terms, so I could finish a paper). I have been mulling about this since I started, but is publishing your research much more important than presenting your research -- since you'll actually be published? Or maybe I might not be comparing the two.

Thank you so much for any comments or helpful advice. I'd really appreciate it. 

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Presentations are good, but papers are typically better since they have gone through a much more thorough peer review process. You can always do both: present the paper at a conference and publish it. If you are interested in staying in academia, publishing is crucial, hence the saying "publish or perish."

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There are a few disciplines in which what matters most are the conference presentations (because they tend to get published in conference proceedings, which are the discipline's main outlet). In almost every field, however, it's the pubs that matter most. As HK38 says, however, the two aren't mutually exclusive: conferencing is important and a useful step in the publication process. But given a forced choice, you should opt for publication over presentation every time (unless you're in one of the fields I mentioned at the outset).

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In the humanities, you should see conference papers as work in progress. Plan to publish those papers at some point. Publications weigh more in your CV. However, if you get to the job market without any presentation, that will look suspicious as conferences are spaces for networking, discussion, and collaboration. 

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