Are short papers worth publishing?

I am wondering how long a paper should be to be worth considered publishable. For example, a half-page abstract of an invited talk hardly has more than an explanation of the title and probably will never be cited. Such abstracts may be in the (electronic) proceedings but should not be indexed by DBLP or other services as a scientific paper.

Are there sharp criteria about the minimum length? Is it 2 pages or 5 pages? Shall any citable paper also contain references about what others have done?


Shall a 2-page paper about a demo be regarded as a citable scientific paper?

The question gets more relevant these days because CEUR-WS is now recognized by the “Norwegian Database” as a publisher with reasonable reputation. Any paper published by CEUR-WS thus counts in the Norwegian system (which is also adopted by Sweden and possibly Finland).


I rather do not want that short abstracts or very short papers count the same as a long paper.

Your opinion is welcome!




  1. I think that it is not the length of the contribution that matters as much but their intentions, because short contributions can be brilliant, innovative or set motion to further research.

    The general consensus for invited talks may be that they are ephemeral as far as contributions go. The accompanying abstracts tend to capture the state of the art/area, reflections, visions and so forth. While they may cite other work, they are not the primary target of citations. I can’t think of a single work that cites an invited talk as an integral part of their own study.

    If invited talks were to be preserved at the same level as peer-reviewed articles, it is equally valid to look at all other “contributions” that come out of the events e.g., discussions, tangible outputs of the workshop, feedback from social media. Capturing that sort of information would indeed be a more holistic way of preserving scholarly communication, so I can see the argument can be made from both ends.

    If this boils down if a given contribution can be normatively cited, then the length shouldn’t matter. Normative citations tend to be peer-reviewed at some level. Invited talks on the other hand are due to different process.

  2. Thanks Sarven. I agree.

    A more holistic view on what a paper is, in particular in the context of conferences, may be useful and has been discussed some years ago in a EU project proposal PaperLink (which was unfortunately rejected).

    In many cases, the slides for an invited paper are much more useful than the short abstract that typically is included in a proceedings volume. These slides are in most cases not part of the proceedings volume.

    Computer Science is probably the only scientific domain that regards conference publications as important. Journal publications are much longer and are supposed to present a comprehensive answer to a research question. Hence, the CS field is already lowering the standards for “acceptable” publications.

    I believe that the lowest level in the chain (workshops) must take special attention to quality. Note that most CEUR-WS volumes are indexed by DBLP and that the “Norwegian list” assigns to CEUR-WS the same level as to LNCS.

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