How to cite conferences canceled due to COVID-19

Sep 09, 2020 · Lorrie Pellack

There are variations on this question and many things to consider:  What if the in-person conference was canceled but it moved online? What if the conference was held, but I was unable to attend due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?

MLA recommends

If the conference that accepted the presentation was canceled, list the presentation on the CV under a header such as “Accepted Papers” or “Invited Speeches” and note that the conference did not take place. The following provides an example:

Chen, Joanne. “Strategies for Teaching Grammar to First-Year College Students.” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Milwaukee, WI, 25–28 Mar. 2020. Conference canceled.

APA recommends this same sort of thing, but provides some additional guidance:

If the paper/poster/presentation was approved, but conference was canceled… cite it normally but add a note that the conference was canceled.

Boissy, A., Davis, C., & Montori, V. (2020, March 13–22). Keeping healthcare human in the digital era [Conference session]. SXSW Conference, Austin, TX, United States. (Conference canceled)

If the conference moved to online…cite it normally – no need to specify that the presentation moved to an online format. Online-only conferences use the same template as in-person conferences. (The conference location should still be included.)

Kullgren, K., Carter, B., Caplin, D., Ramirez, L., Williams, S., Marsac, M., Judd-Glossy, L., & Brown, M. (2020, March 19–21). Pediatric psychology consultation: State of the art and future directions [Conference workshop]. Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference, Dallas, TX, United States.

Consider adding a link or separate citation for any recorded video presentations that were posted online in lieu of the in-person conference presentation.

Note: ISU-authored posters and presentations can be submitted to the Iowa State University Digital Repository and then linked in a CV. For information, visit

If the conference was postponed, simply update the dates and location as needed once the new information is known. There is no need to mention the postponement in the reference.

For other style manuals, the format may vary slightly but they will have very similar concepts that can be applied using the above examples. For further information, see Citation Style Guides at