What is the standard/recommended font to use in papers?
I looked around but did not find that anyone has asked this before, but what are the fonts that are standard/recommended while writing academic reports/papers?
No need to search for the perfect font. You just download the latex/word template that the journal / conference provides and you stick to it.
unless your a graphic designer, if theres no standard specified its safe to stick with times new roman
@O.R.Mapper yes very true, although I assume if the OP was looking for the standard font of every language in the world for academic publishing, we could close it as "too broad"
If you don't have the journal/conference template; then look for the the paper you like the template of which more. Then you can not only find out which font it has used, but also you can see other customizations of the papers. You can use those templates to prepare your assignments, drafts and reports. However, please note that every conference or journal has its own template and you don't have the chance to choose the font you like. The only standard in the case of fonts and templates is the paper's publisher preference and standard.
People stick with the Computer Modern default in LaTeX so much that I once had someone tell me a paper where I intentionally chose a different serif font "looked unprofessional."
Please do not be "that person" who has the only paper in the journal or proceedings with a different font from the others.
If there's no template, then the choice is yours. However, you should make sure to pick a font that's easy to read. The usual standards in academia tend to be the Times, Helvetica/Arial, and Computer Modern families. This doesn't restrict you from using fonts like Book Antiqua, Myriad Pro, Goudy Old Style, or Garamond, but they're definitely not standard.
As to Helvetica/Arial: I think conventional wisdom is that serif fonts are preferred for large bodies of text, while sans serif should be reserved for short chunks like labels, headings, etc. I've certainly never seen a published paper set entirely in Helvetica. Then again, in my field everyone uses LaTeX, so unless you make a special effort, everything comes out in Computer Modern.
@NateEldredge: You are correct that serif fonts are easier to handle in large doses, but Helvetica is the "default" font for most "official" documents and reports throughout most of Europe. And this extends to preprints when not done in LaTeX.
@NateEldredge: This is not undisputed. @ aeismail: It’s rather Arial due that popular operating system (which does not make this any better; not because of serif vs. sans-serif, but because I do not want to see that font anymore to the extent that I tweaked my browser to auto-replace any resembling fonts).
@Wrzlprmft: True, it is normally Arial that is specified; fortunately the differences are small enough that I use Helvetica and no one complains. (And actually I'm starting to see more references to Helvetica nowadays.)