ISB Updates

Publication success of papers presented at CAF Summer Research Conference

The Centre for Analytical Finance (CAF) recently held the eighth annual Summer Research Conference in Finance (SRCF). The first conference was held in 2004. Over the years, the feedback of SRCF participants has been uniformly positive, and often very complimentary. As a result, SRCF has become a highly popular research forum for finance researchers, making it very competitive. The last conference attracted paper submission from researchers based in twenty different countries, and the acceptance rate was one out of ten submissions (one of the lowest rates for competitive finance conferences throughout the world).

Until now we have never investigated an important indicator of the quality of SRCF, namely how well does the acceptance of a paper in the conference program predict its publication success in the post-conference phase, especially publication in top journals? How well does the publication success rate compare with other highly-regarded international conferences? The quality of an academic conference is expected to be correlated with the subsequent publication success of a conference paper through two different channels: initial review process before the conference and value addition during the conference through feedback from an assigned discussant and other participants. Recently, at the encouragement of a number of conference participants and program committee members, we investigated the issue. Since SRCF now has a reasonably long history, we decided that it would be a meaningful exercise. Here are our findings:

    In terms of the broadest measure of publication success (publication of conference papers in any academic journal of repute), CAF SRCF ranks higher than all other well-established international finance conferences that we could find data for. The other conferences are the annual meeting of the AFA (American Finance Association), the annual meeting of the WFA (Western Finance Association), the annual meeting of the UWFC (Utah Winter Finance Conference), the annual meeting of the EFA (European Finance Association), and the annual meeting of the FMA (Financial Management Association). Like SRCF, they are held annually, are open to all interested finance researchers, and select papers through a well-established and pre-announced review process.
    In terms of the strictest measure of publication success (publication in top journals excluding proceedings of conferences organized by the same journals), CAF SRCF ranks higher than all but one (UWFC). The top journals are defined below.

The table below presents the information the findings are based on. In the finance arena, hundreds of conferences take place each year. The table compares SRCF records with the five major conferences noted above. The statistics for the other conferences as well as the list of top journals are taken from a paper by Johnson, Kalay, and Schallheim (JKS, 2002). We consider publication records of SRCF papers during 2004-2009 (excluding the 2010 conference and the recently concluded 2011 conference: they are too recent). Actually, since 2006 when we introduced our current conference model (external review committee; two-tier review process; presentation followed by discussion), the statistics for SRCF has improved even further. Publication rate in top journals excluding proceedings is exactly one in three (33.3%) since 2006

Conference PERIODNumber of papersAll Journals

Top Journals**, including

conference proceedings

Top Journals, including

conference proceedings

CAF/ISB SRC2004-20098151.9%28.4%27.2%



* From tables 1 and 2 in Johnson, Kalay, and Schallheim (JKS, 2002), "Does Publication Follow Presentation? The Information Content of Presentations at Refereed Finance Conferences", Working Paper

** We consider the same top journals as JKS: Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Theory, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Econometrica.

Obviously, comparisons of this kind would involve some noise. The sample periods in the JKS study (the 90’s) do not match ours. Except for UWFC, the other conferences are much bigger in size. However, subject to these caveats, the performance records of SRCF appear very impressive compared to the most highly-regarded finance conferences in the world.

How have our conferences become so successful? We can identify a couple of factors. We have a very careful paper selection process in place. All accepted papers go through several rounds of review: an initial round of screening for appropriateness and quality by internal ISB faculty and a final round when they are blind-reviewed by two members of an external program committee who are all established finance researchers. Besides reviewing papers, they serve as a signal of the high quality we wish to have. We also choose paper discussants very carefully, and make sure that they have credible research records in the topic of the assigned papers. Not to take a chance, we advise them in advance to be incisive in their discussion, but also constructive and helpful. Over the years we have received many communications from conference presenters telling us that the discussions have helped significantly in getting their papers published.

The last line of CAF’s vision statement reads “(the centre will) achieve global standing in the foreseeable future”. The above information suggests that in some respects we are perhaps proceeding in the right direction.