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Bowing out of conference symposium or panel?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psychRA, May 19, 2014.

  1. psychRA

    psychRA Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    If you have agreed to submit an abstract to a conference as part of a group symposium or panel, or if the sympsoium/panel has been accepted, is there a general protocol or rule of thumb for backing out? I know there have been threads related to backing out of a poster presentation, but I don't recall seeing one about oral presentations.

    I'm wondering if there is a "point of no return" (say, a month or a week before the submission deadline/presentation date) after which it's unnacceptable to bow out from a professional standpoint. I'm also wondering if the person who backs out would be expected to coordinate a replacement, or if the person who chairs the symposium should expect to cover that role.

    I'm not trying to bail on a presentation myself, fwiw. But there have been 2-3 instances recently in which a colleague has put together a group of presenters for a symposium, and then one of the presenters has backed out a few days before the submission was due, or a few days before the presentation was scheduled. These weren't emergencies, but situations in which the respective presenters decided not to attend the conference after all, and the chair was left scrambling to replace that person.

    I guess I'm just wondering how common this is. I know that we're not talking about a binding legal contract, and that anyone can walk away at any point, but I guess I had assumed that after a certain point, no one would think of bailing on a panel without at least finding a replacement. Has anyone dealt with this before?
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  3. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    I don't know that there is a global standard, but I can say that if I was putting together a symposium submission and someone backed out a few days ahead they had better have an exceedingly good reason if they expect me to work with them in the future. Of course, this likely varies by status as senior folks may know they are in a better position to get away with things. How apologetic they are obviously goes a long way too.

    In many cases they won't consider a submission without a certain number of people so if everyone else put in the work and couldn't submit as a symposium because of one person...that's pretty awful.

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