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Publication expert

I would NOT list publications that are invited contributions to volumes, until your piece has been approved by the edited of the volume (that is, all revisions and edits have been made). And also, you should not list such a publication until the publisher has committed to publishing the volume. You are a graduate student (from what I can tell), so the assumption is that you did not get that invitation on your own merit ALONE. That is the reality of it, from the perspective of a third person reading your cv who does not know you.


I had a similar conundrum when preparing my CV for my first year on the market. I decided against listing commissioned work alongside published work (even with a parenthetical note explaining the state of the paper). My reason is that I suspect many people, including hiring committee members, quickly skim over CVs, and might miss that the paper has not been written and formally accepted. I wanted to make sure the structure of my CV was not misleading.

What I decided to do instead was include a section at the end of my publication list with the heading, "Commissioned Submissions in Progress." This includes invited articles, book chapters, book reviews, etc.--anything I've been formally asked to write that I have not yet completed and submitted. Generally, I'll move items into their respective subheadings once I've submitted the paper and received confirmation from the editor that they are satisfied with it (I don't wait for proofs, or anything like that).

As a side note, I've seen many senior figures list all of their invited chapters as "forthcoming," even before they have written/submitted them. I don't see much of a problem with this for people who already have established publications records. However, for those of us early in our careers, where 1-2 publications means quite a bit, I think it's best to find a way to list every publication you can on the CV while avoiding the possibility of misleading anyone.

Justin Caouette

I'm glad to hear that others in my position (early career folks) share my concern for how to navigate the presentation of purgatory pubs on the CV (I've had some helpful discussion with a number of others in response to this piece on twitter as well).

Postdoc, you say: "However, for those of us early in our careers, where 1-2 publications means quite a bit, I think it's best to find a way to list every publication you can on the CV while avoiding the possibility of misleading anyone."

That's what I am shooting for and why I wrote this post. I think I'll do something similar to what you did as that seems like a nice happy-medium.

Publication expert: that's right, I am a grad student. But I do not see how it follows that the invitations were not given on my own merit, whatever that means. How are you figuring they came to be? Just curious. Should folks have these assumptions at all? Why isn't the assumption that this person knows something about the topic being discussed and is on the cusp of producing some of his or her own research on the topic and THAT'S why they were asked?

Also, and as an aside, are any invitations given out on one's "own merit" and ONLY one's own merit? And, what does this have to do with the original post? Are you suggesting that such a publication is not very meaningful because of my status as a grad student?

I'd be curious if others share your assumption. If anything, I think it's meritorious for a grad student to be asked to contribute at all! Having dealt with a couple of different presses now for my own edited volumes I can tell you that having grad students as contributors is NOT an easy sell to presses and MOST of the contributions you will find by grad students in reputable volumes are done as coauthors and rarely will you get more than a few in one volume but I digress.

I'd be curious to hear more about your assumption nonetheless.


I have an "in progress" or "current projects" section of my cv where I list what I'm working on, which is after the book review section, which is after the books/journal articles section. In it, I list the "purgatory pubs" that you mention, but indicate that they're for a volume, which I think highlights what you want to highlight while avoiding what should be avoided.

Justin Caouette

Yeah, I think that's the way to go Kevin. That way it clearly delineates the published and forthcoming stuff from the stuff that will likely come out in volumes and that have been contracted. I don't want to mislead but I also want folks to see how active I am and how much work will likely to be coming out sooner than later.

Thanks! Oh, and your website is BADASS! I may have to use a similar format as i found it to be much more aesthetically pleasing than my own.


Kevin's advice seems sound. Consider applying it to the book that's in progress as well. You might also think about separating the conference presentations from the conference comments. On the stuff that's in progress, as a search committee member, I'd want to know how far along the work is. "In progress" can mean a lot of things, so you risk leaving people uneasy (or worse) when you don't say more.

Axel Gelfert

Having a separate section for 'current projects', as suggested by Kevin, seems to be the right way to go. It seems to me that this is where one should also put 'purgatory pubs' -- at least those that aren't well on track to being published (but are merely commissioned, work-in-progress etc.). On the other hand, I don't think one needs to have seen preprints (proofs?) before one can list a fully accepted paper as 'forthcoming' in the 'publications' section of one's CV. As long as one has the written confirmation from all editors involved (and, in the case of books, the publisher) that the chapter is going to be published, I would think it legitimate to list it as 'forthcoming'. Note the emphasis on 'all': when it comes to book series of special issue, sometimes the general editor(s) can overrule decision made by the guest editors. (This happened to me not long ago: a paper that had gone through multiple revision was accepted by the guest editors, but the issue was delayed over and over again, until the journal editor pulled the plug on it...these things happen; luckily, I never listed the paper as 'forthcoming'...). Having said all this, for early-career people applying for a tenure-track job, I think it's also fine to occasionally list manuscripts that have reached, say, 'revised & resubmit' status, as long as this is clearly stated. And an R&R typically only helps a candidate if it is in an exceptionally good journal. Also, I would advise against listing anything under 'publications' that's merely 'under review' oder 'submitted' -- this can go into the 'current projects' section.

Justin Caouette

Thanks CW and Axel, all great points that I will incorporate on my CV and my website in the coming weeks. I appreciate your input.

Axel: You said "luckily, I never listed the paper as 'forthcoming'". I would have felt the same way and I think this speaks to some underlying norm that is being violated, or to some *perceived* underlying norm violation regarding the way we represent ourselves and our work.

Also, I'm with you on listing things under the 'publications' heading that are merely 'under review' or 'submitted' but I'd probably hold off on revise and resubmit as well. ONly because I think there are more cases of R&R pubs not seeing the light of day than there are book chapters that have been contracted that do not see the light of day. I may be wrong on this point though, just a hunch.

anonymous person

Having been the recipient of lots of market advice lately, while there isn't consensus about a lot, there seems to be near consensus about (a) making super, super clear which things are actually forthcoming, which things are invited vs. refereed (something not that clear on your current cv), which things are in progress/R&R'd, etc., and (b) that invited things don't count for much at all *in most people's eyes* for junior/very early career people. Of course there will be exceptions to that, and some people will be impressed. I'm not defending that they don't count for much, but it really seems like they don't (and I was advised against accepting invitations to publish papers in collections, book chapters, etc. when in grad school/to focus on getting stuff in peer reviewed journals because of this). So, yeah. I think it's just a kind of elitism or snobbery: when a senior person gets an invitation, people assume that it is because of their track record of quality publications (even though usually this stuff is networky and heavily influenced by things unrelated to "merit" in both junior and senior cases), but when a junior person gets one, it's assumed that it's solely because they either happened to be in the right place at the right time, or were lucky to have friends in high places, or people advocating for them.

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