Transitioning a Conference Paper into a Journal Article

By eContent Pro on Sep 17, 2019
Transitioning a Conference Paper into a Journal Article

Many academics use conferences as an opportunity to share their research with colleagues and as a tool to receive feedback on their work. This feedback is useful in determining where their research needs more clarification or improvements to the argument, etc. But once the presentation is done, where does the research go from there? With the longstanding motto “publish or perish” hanging over the heads of academics, the next step would be to get their research published in a relevant and reputable journal book. eContent Pro wants to offer some helpful tips in making the transition from a conference paper to a product ready to be submitted for publication.

Let Your Audience Help

While conference papers make a great starting place for preparing a journal article, there is much editing to be done prior to submission. The biggest mistake authors make is assuming that just because a paper got great reviews at the presentation, it’s ready for publication. Conference papers are written to merely be a snapshot into researchers’ work, highlighting the most significant portions with relevance to the topic of the panel or roundtable. Because of this, presenters are able to mold their paper to appeal to a specific sect of audience. But when revising for a journal article, it’s important to prepare the text for a broader audience, as there will ordinarily be more people reading a journal article than a conference paper.

Unlike with conference presentations, there is no audience participation or reaction to gauge the effectiveness of the argument. Those moments that were emphasized by tone or visual supplements no longer have that luxury, so authors need to position information within the text in a way that will bring attention to the most important information with additional explanation and engaging language. That doesn’t mean the audience of your presentation isn’t applicable for later use, though. Use the moments when they were the most intrigued or inquisitive as a tool to measure the most successful parts of the argument, and vice versa.

By the same token, use audience questions and discussion as seriously as a formal peer review. It’s often those who aren’t as attached to the research who can expose the most obvious holes in an argument. Let the fresh sets of eyes of people just as interested in the subject, and perhaps more knowledgeable, act as resources to help prepare for an actual publication. Two heads are always better than one, right?


It’s also pertinent to evolve the tone when transforming a conference paper into a journal article. Standing in front of an audience which is unable to view a physical copy of the text also requires that the language of the speaker be engaging and not too complex or dry to keep the interest of the listeners. It’s accepted and encouraged to maintain a conversational tone and even crack a few jokes. Journal articles, on the other hand, allow more time for the reader to analyze and digest information because it’s sitting right in front of them. For this reason, the language and sentence structures can and should be more complex.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, in a journal, the author can’t be there to ensure readers understand. There’s no Q&A to clear up misunderstandings, so there needs to be clear explanations and an illustration of a thorough understanding of the knowledge. Taking into consideration the length of an article should be about twice the length of a conference paper, there is more room to expand on brief thoughts and display your skill and meticulousness with the subject.


There are also typically no guidelines that conference papers need to follow because they are merely a tool to help the presenter keep their thoughts in order. When preparing an article submission, it’s imperative to format the paper to the specific guidelines of the journal. Improper formatting can seriously dent the chances of acceptance and even ultimately cause a rejection.

The process doesn’t need to be done alone, though. eContent Pro offers professional publication services such as English Language Copy Editing to address a complete range of potential issues such as faulty spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

If you’re having trouble choosing a journal to submit to, eContent Pro also offers Journal Recommendation services. Experienced journal selectors will provide support in matching a manuscript to the most suitable and relevant journals in your field!

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