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07/24/2019

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Formatting

One thing that wasn’t mentioned here is CV formatting.

If one CV’s information is much more easily digested by SC committee members than another because of its formatting, then the candidate with the CV with better formatting might have an advantage because easy digestion might lead to easier recall of one’s accomplishments.

Anon

I have defended my dissertation in 2016. I was wondering if i have to put on my cv graduate coursework.

Marcus Arvan

Formatting: Good point. CVs packed with too much information (e.g. details about particular courses taught or lists of duties at past positions) can be off-putting. Simple, clean CVs with traditional formatting are I think the way to go.

Consistency with formatting may also be important. For example, inconsistent font-size changes or indentations can look sloppy. Spelling and editing (including consistent punctuation) may also be important. These are small things, but I think they go for dossiers in general: you want to look like you really have your act together, demonstrating care and conscientiousness.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: I wouldn’t do it for most jobs—maybe only if a job ad lists a particular AOC, you don’t have teaching experience in the area, but your grad coursework makes a plausible case that you can claim it as an area of competence.

Daniel

Fwiw, I'm not sure I agree about the importance of distinguishing peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications on a CV. It's not because I don't think the distinction matters, or because I don't think search committees will care, but just that I think it's clear enough from the publication venues. Or, in the rare cases where it's not, it's because the venue is obscure enough that search committee members don't recognize it, in which case the distinction is less important; a peer-reviewed publication in a journal search committee members won't carry lots of weight just in virtue of being peer reviewed.

Marcus Arvan

Daniel: My sense is that people at R1s care a great deal about journal names, but people at more teaching institutions may not care much at *all* about whether they recognize a journal. What people at teaching institutions (in my experience) care more about is whether a person publishes enough peer reviewed articles simpliciter to get tenure at their institution. This is why I think candidates are best off clearly distinguishing each type of publication. It may not matter much either way for R1 jobs (which care about prestige of venue)—but it may matter for non-R1 jobs, where people care more about peer-review per se.

Amanda

I think formatting is incredibly important. Mainly make your CV as easy to read and understand as possible. Leave no room for confusion, and no room for the search committee to have to look twice to understand something.

similar to listing non publications as publications (but, not as bad) - is to have the heading "Papers" and to to list publications, articles under review, drafts, etc. This is BAD. Almost all search committee members want to see a section clearly labeled "publications." This sort of thing, unsurprisingly seems most often done by persons with only one or maybe two publications. Trust me, you aren't fooling anyone. And if you don't mean to be fooling anyone, it will still look like you are trying.

For some reason I have noticed a number of CVs of recent grads who will list something before their publications. Often it is awards, but sometimes I see teaching or I've even seen presentations! Your CV should have your current and past employment, your education, and then your publications. I think the only exception would be a community college (where you might put teaching first), or perhaps a small teaching college where you have inside information that they don't care about research. The vast majority of schools, even teaching schools, will want to see publications.

I partly disagree with Marcus about separating peer review publications. First, whether people think peer review is a special different standard varies widely. I have heard all sorts of opinions on this. At research schools, especially, there is a decent chunk of people who think invited articles are just as good as peer reviewed ones. Depending on what your publication list looks like, separating the publications may just be a bad strategic move because it will only cause those who *do* value peer review more highly to immediately notice which work they can discount. And it won't help with those who like these articles. Second, lots of people will stretch the definition of peer review. I have seen people include both invited journal articles and invited book chapters under "peer review" because someone did, in fact, read the paper and offer feedback - even though the odds of acceptance was like 98%. So in this case separating them seems to just advantage either the connected or those willing to stretch the truth/mislead.Lastly, it is common for established, professional, people to not separate articles on their CV, so there is at least not vast social agreement about this issue.

That said, separating reviews from other publications is more important Not doing that has a good chance of pissing people off. You might get away with it if you have 10 articles in great places and one review. But if you have four "publications" and one is a review, it does *not* look good to list the together.

R

Daniel: once you get to 10+ publications (and there are now plenty of people on the market with that kind of track record), presenting them all in a single list and expecting search committees to sort through them to see which ones are peer-reviewed, which ones are book chapters, etc., would be asking them to engage in a moderately time-consuming task. It seems strategically wise to make it easy on them.

Amanda

R - that might be true, but there are other ways to divide them. You can divide them by year of publication, by subject area, by inter-disciplinary work vs pure philosophy, by single-authored vs co-authored (but see below), by invited and non-invited (which is not necessarily the same as peer review and non-peer review).

Anyway - I think job candidates should avoid doing something that will cause certain search committee members to see their work as less valuable. I have seen the following sort of thing happen:

1. Search committee members immediately dismiss any co-authored paper as "not a real publication"

2. Seen the same dismissal of articles that are in invited journals, anthologies, special issues of journals, books edited by the CV holder, and even reply articles.

3. Dismiss anything that was published in a non-philosophy journal (even if it was a top journal of another discipline)


Here is the reason why I think it is a bad strategic move to separate these things, even thought I am typically huge on making things easy to read. If they are separated, a significant number of search committees will simply ignore papers that are co-authored and/or not in peer review journals. They will not, for instance, even bother to read the title or the venue. This can hurt a candidate, because if everything had been listed together, the search committee member would have been more likely to notice the title, venue etc. And sometimes they might *like* the title. They might say, "well such and such wasn't a peer reviewed article, but it does sound like part of a really interesting project and the venue is at least respected..."

Anyway, I could be wrong about what creates the best odds, but I have never seen a search committee member get annoyed that peer review articles were not separated from other articles (unless the list also included reviews and popular publications, which I agree should have separate sections.)

Lastly, even if someone has 15 publications, it doesn't take that long to glance down at the title and venue, so I am not sure it is much extra work for search committee members. It is not the same as, for instance, including one or two extra pages of teaching or research statements, or having confusing headings where it is unclear what something means.

Amanda

Some other more minor mistakes:

Padding - including information on your CV that is not traditional and not particularly relevant. Unless someone is straight dishonest, padding will rarely kill a candidate, but it can hurt them some, perhaps most by making their CV look more cluttered than it needs to be, and can make a candidate look desperate, immature, or out of touch. Here are some examples of padding:

1.Including *undergraduate* awards/accomplishments on your CV. (really, really prestigious things like graduating in the top 1% of your undergrad class might be an exception)
2.Including your GPA
3.Including days where you "guest lectured" (substitute taught) for a professor at your own PhD institution
4.including presentations at your own PhD institution's graduate seminars.
5 including all graduate seminars 2 our more years post graduation (an exception might be if you needed prove you have a speciality relevant to the particular job add)
6. Including times you *chaired* a conference session.

While this might be controversial, after a certain point I don't think you should include every conference presentation you ever did. This often just results in the more meaningful presentations getting lost among the ones that will never help.

Another mistake: Listing names of awards and providing absolutely no context. If you write down "University's X's Smith Johnston Award," it will be meaningless to most. So unless the award is well recognized and/or obvious from the title, a brief explanation is often appropriate.

postdoc

Regarding the comment on lying, I strongly disagree with Marcus's assessment. Lying on CV's is the status quo. You have to be careful what you lie about of course, as some lies will get you in big trouble no doubt; for example, don't lie about where you did your PhD. However, lies in the form of exaggeration are common. If you gave a guest lecture, put down "co-taught" instead. If you have a publication that was really just handed to you by a friend, put it under publications next to your article in Synthese. If you were 12th author on a grant that brought in 100k dollars, list it on your CV as money YOU obtained. Lies of omission are just as common as exaggeration: If half your publications are only due to your connections, omit this fact entirely from your CV. Exaggerate and omit where necessary to make it sound like you're an expert in whatever subject is required at the time, regardless of whether you are. These lies of exaggeration and omission are normal and your competition will most certainly practice them. Honesty is not the right approach if you want to get a job. I guess a way to put it is this: don't outright and obviously lie but don't be overly honest either.

Nicolas

On reviews: please don’t make it look like you published in Mind or Phil Review when the publication is a book review (invited by the way).

Marcus Arvan

I have to confess to being pretty shocked by postdoc's comment. I don't think lying on CVs is the status quo. People can of course choose to do the kinds of things that postdoc describes--but in my view they are risks not worth taking. You never know how a lie or exaggeration might be discovered. You may write that you 'co-taught' course, and unbeknownst to you, one of your letter-writers notes that you merely guest-lectured. If a search-committee member catches that (and in my experience they catch all kinds of unexpected things), your candidacy may be done. And you should definitely *not* omit publications from your CV. At many institutions, once you are hired you will be expected to upload complete CV's each year as a record of your accomplishments. If it comes out at any point--in annual reviews, pre-tenure review, or tenure and promotion--that you were dishonest in any way on your CV (and you would be surprised at how resourceful people are in checking things), best of luck to you in keeping your job.

Craig

I'm with Marcus here. I would be honest, through and through. Add to everything Marcus said that philosophy is small and chatty.

Moreover, I think you're facing a dilemma. Either this stuff barely matters, in which case why do it, or it does, and if you make it past CV-reading stage you're likely to get asked about it. What're you gonna do then? Lie the rest of your career? I know I would ask people for more about any significant grants they had gotten, and now you're either going to have to deflate my impression of you at the in-person stage, or you're going to have to really make things worse.

Marcus Arvan

Another thing that bothers me about postdoc's comment is the overall attitude toward the job-market that it seems to suggest--an attitude which in my experience is commonly expressed on job-market blogs: that the job-market is or should be a 'CV-pissing-contest' where the person with the best CV gets the job.

Let's be clear about something: hiring committees don't merely care about your accomplishments. They also care about the kind of *person* they are hiring. If you are the kind of Machiavellian person who lies, exaggerates, and flouts norms of propriety, what kind of employee or colleague are you likely to be? Departments and administrators care very much about hiring people who do things the right way--who don't take serious risks that might result in disciplinary proceedings or bring shame on the university. You had better believe that people don't want to hire people who lie on a CV--and I think chances are that if you are a liar or exaggerator, these things are likely to come out at some point: either in a Skype interview, fly-out to campus, or whatever. Trust me, search committee members observe candidate behavior very closely to look out for 'red flags'. Character matters...a lot.

anonymous

I've been on multiple hiring committees, and the kind of behavior postdoc describes would sink candidates at my (R1) school. If we didn't notice it at the evaluating applications stage, we would definitely notice it at the interview stage, as Craig points out, unless somehow the person in question was (a) lucky that none of the discrepancies were brought to our attention by any other part of the application (e.g. letters)/word of mouth/internet hunting/whatever and (b) an extremely good and consistent liar.

That said, I just want to register that I rarely see candidates for our jobs separating peer-reviewed from non peer-reviewed publications on their cvs--maybe people with a lot of publications or who are at an advanced stage (e.g. currently going up for tenure), but I'd say for an assistant professor job only about 10%ish of cvs do this? So whatever you think about it, it seems like the norm to not separate them at the junior level. Which makes it hard for me to see how anyone could hold it against a candidate for not doing so. I also agree with Amanda that there might be pragmatic reasons not to separate them. So I'm in sum total not sure at all that I agree with Marcus about this.

One other point, not so much about lying but about consistency: it's really important to make sure that your cv is consistent with what you say in other documents (e.g. research statement, teaching statement) and also with what your letters say. I've noticed a ton of inconsistencies between these things. Usually they don't rise to the level of making me think people are lying, just being sloppy or trying to hard to "fit" their application to the job in e.g. a tailored research statement or cover letter that is not borne out by their c.v. (or the opposite).

anon

would a list of "publications for a popular audience" be a useful category on a CV?

Marcus Arvan

anon: I think that can be a good category. I have it on my CV, and think it is informative. However, I only include substantial essays (e.g. a magazine article), not things like blog posts. Going overboard including things you have written for a public audience (e.g. Medium posts and the like) may run a risk of making you not look like a serious researcher.

postdoc

Do hiring committees, and people more generally, not understand that a lot of candidates' letter writers will help the candidates exaggerate and omit? A sizable percentage of letter writers will even let you write your own letters!

I think the naiveté expressed on this blog is kind of shocking. Look I understand that lying is morally questionable, but at the very least wake up to the fact that people are lying wherever and whenever they can get away with it.

The idea that you can figure out who's honest and who's not by "observ[ing] candidate behavior very closely" demonstrates complete ignorance as to how hard, if not impossible, it is to actually figure out whether someone is lying based on how they are acting. Even trained professionals with the aid of a machine (the polygraph) can't do it reliably enough for the evidence thus obtained to be admissible in court.


Marcus Arvan

postdoc: I don't think anyone here is naive about that.

First, most of us are well aware that recommendation-letter writers tend to exaggerate, at least in the sense of potentially overstating a candidate's promise. It's well known that letters of recommendation tend to be 'inflated', much like grade inflation--and for this reason I know people who don't put much stock in recommendation letters. What recommendation letters don't typically do--as far as I can tell--is lie outright about a candidate's actual career accomplishments. (Yes, I know some people have candidates write their own letters, but (A) I wonder how common this really is, and (B) people again take recommendation letters with a serious grain of salt for this and many other reasons).

Second, I think many of us know there are candidates out there who lie or exaggerate. I personally knew someone who *lost their tenure-track job* because they lied on their CV (they are now no longer in the profession). People on hiring committees are aware that people lie: in materials, and in interviews. This can lead people on search committees to do their due diligence before hiring someone--for example, by looking up online whether their actual accomplishments match their claimed ones, as well as through phone references (which search committees may be required to complete before extending an offer). As for your point about lie detectors and whatnot, sure, search committees might be as fallible as anyone in detecting problems of character--but...ahem, let's not be naive here: they may be very much on the lookout for things a candidate says and does that might raise a red flag as to the person's character. And candidates may very well may let things slip in conversation that suggest that they are not trustworthy.

Anyway, I never suggested there aren't liars and cheats out there. Sadly, I know as well as anyone that there are. All I indicated was that I am shocked that anyone actually thinks it's normal or a good idea. People sometimes wonder why they don't get interviewed or hired after an interview. If you lie in your materials, that very well could be the reason. And, in any case, as I and others here have pointed out, it's a serious risk if you *do* get hired--as there have been more people fired from faculty jobs for this reason than just the person I knew.

Anon

postdoc, it seems like the lies of actual import are lies that could be easily detected through a quick internet search (e.g., lies about your publications, or lies about how many authors were on a piece of writing). I really doubt that people are lying about this kind of stuff as much as you think they are.

anonymous

It's not very hard to check up on the kinds of things people put on their c.v.s--especially if they actually matter. One candidate for a job at my university lied about having a book contract at a major press. For various reasons some of us were suspicious of this. It turned out the candidate had had a verbal conversation with an editor from the press in which the editor had expressed interest in seeing sample chapters and a proposal, but the candidate had not yet submitted those or gotten a contract. It took about five minutes of work for us to find this out--all we had to do was have the person in the dept. who was friends with that editor ask them.

Yes, of course, you might not be suspicious of the right people or whatever. But I really think postdoc is exaggerating how much deception there is on the market.

Also I just want to re-emphasize what Marcus said about your cv being just one small piece of the puzzle. No one wants to hire a crappy person. Don't lie or exaggerate on your cv.

postdoc

Guys, you obviously don't lie about things that can be easily looked up, unless you have plausible deniability. You can't get away with BIG lies. But don't fool yourselves! Lots of little lies, exaggerations, and omissions add up to make a big difference.

Things people regularly lie about.

1. Student Evals. At most universities I've been at they lost the official files entirely or totally failed to keep official files. So, there would be no way to check anything.

2. Teaching responsibilities. As long as the higher ups are in on it, there is no way to check what you really did or didn't do. They are often happy to fib for you.

3. Exaggerate importance in projects. People are unlikely to out someone they've worked with for exaggerating, because they depend on this person.

4. Exaggerate connections. Maybe you've just had a few email exchanges with famous person X, but make it sound like you've got a real connection.

5. Exaggerate your abilities. Maybe you don't know much about X or Y, but you can pretend. Do some research and be prepared. In my experience people don't push you too much. Usually if you seem confident and knowledgable then that's enough.

6. Omit facts about your publications. Many connected people get a ton of papers due to their connections. These papers involve almost no peer review. Don't list these publications in a separate category. Pretend they are equivalent to the peer reviewed papers you have. As others have noted, this lie of omission is common.

7. Omit facts that would make you look less amazing. That grant you helped get, that you listed as "grant money obtained," don't mention that you had almost no role. Omitting and exaggerating go hand in hand of course. Exaggerate wherever you can.

8. Pretend you're really excited to live at location X; pretend you're excited about the university's diversity agenda; and pretend you're buying everything they're selling.

Feel free to chime in with all the ones I missed.


Philosadjacent

Postdoc is a troll, right? He’s making big claims about lying, then minimizing it/giving it a veneer of plausibility by describing things that are either bullshit, meaningless for search committees, so vague that they encompass normal behavior, or apply to a vanishingly small number of cases.

In order:
1. Bullshit, meaningless, and vanishingly small number. “most universities I’ve been at” lost or failed to keep official files. Public institutions have records laws here. Moreover, there are databases of the scores, and can easily provide just a summary. And “most” is, what?, 2 of 3? 3 of 5? Just how many universities have you taught at? Finally, self-reporting teaching eval scores are meaningless to search committees, especially if unsupported by other evidence. I’ll also say that, like 2 below, this is a lie about this would sink a candidate. So, it’s low-reward, high-risk.

2. Bullshit and meaningless. Not many search committees pay attention to “co-taught” classes. And “so long as the higher ups are in on it” is interesting. Are you saying that some letter writer will say that you co-taught a course? An outright lie? Bullshit.

Here I’ll note that IF this happens (again, I think postdoc is trolling), and it got found out in some way (e.g., I encounter the co-teacher somewhere and ask about it, or know her and write about it) and it comes out that it’s a lie, the candidate is *done*. If they have an offer, it’s pulled. If they have accepted the offer, we’re going fraud-in-the-inducement and claiming it’s void. If they’re on staff, probationary contract is where it ends. In other words, it’s a lie that is at once meaningless (co-teaching a course is almost never a difference-maker) and the kind of thing that will run you out of the profession.

3. Exaggerate your importance. So vague it encompasses normal behavior. If you’re one coauthor of four, but did less than ¼ the work, it fits this category. But it’s normal behavior, and the kind of thing people will look at it with appropriate nuance, and it won’t be a difference maker.

4. Exaggerate connections. Bullshit. How do “connections” come up in an application, other than via coauthorship, references, or supervisor relationships? How are you parlaying some emails into something that looks like a real connection so that it reflects positively on you? Are you listing someone as a reference after a few emails, not providing a letter from that person, and expecting we won’t contact them?

5. Exaggerate your abilities, and YET “seem confident and knowledgeable.” This is either vanishingly small number of cases or meaningless. I got questioned about a genuine AOS (I’d published in it! I’d taught it successfully!) in an interview and embarrassed myself answering. Like, whole dinner table was uncomfortable, and search chair had to make a joke to get conversation back on track. In other words, it’s hard enough to seem confident and knowledgeable *even when you are an expert*. Good luck seeming confident and knowledgeable about something you know little about. If it’s something that is so far from the job (e.g., not part of philosophy) that people don’t know enough to ask questions, then it’s probably meaningless.

6. “pretend they are equivalent to peer review.” Yeah, we check. And we can tell most of the papers that are due to connections—by venue, by editor, by topic. So, bullshit.

Also, it's high risk for all the reasons Marcus and others suggest in this post and others. If you do this and we check, you're done.

7. Omit facts. Are you listing yourself as a PI when you’re not? If so, see number 2—this would tank a candidate at any stage of their career. Are you just “on” it? Then it’s meaningless, no one cares.

8. Normal behavior, and not at all equivalent to the bad stuff listed above, so tossed in here to lend an air of plausibility. Also hard to fake. And also not particularly convincing without an explanation. You can feign enthusiasm for a place, but absent a reason (family nearby, have a passion you can pursue nearby) it's meaningless.

So, postdoc’s a troll, and one who admits to committing fraud. [I expect he’ll write back with more hangdog nonsense, “oh I’m just reporting, it YOU who’s naïve.” Pound sand.] But, for those of you applying for jobs or grants, if you think he’s sincere, ignore his poison-the-well nonsense. Marcus refers to someone out of the profession for this kind of thing. There are others. Untrustworthy colleagues are a disaster for departments.

Oh, lastly, “unless you have plausible deniability.” Good luck with that. Search committees love hearing denials of fraud that rise to the level of "plausible." Moves candidates right on up the fly-out list.

Marcus Arvan

"Postdoc is a troll, right?" I have to confess that I wondered that as well, given how over the top some of their claims are. But I'm not sure, and I generally aim to take people's claims on this blog at face-value.

Anyway, I agree with you: (3) and (8) are the only normal or morally acceptable behavior that postdoc listed, and not at all equivalent to the others--though I'm not convinced even they are good strategies, as people on the hiring side of things can see through exaggerations of importance of projects as well as see through people claiming they want to live somewhere that (let's be honest) just about no one would ever really want to live. ;)

Marcus Arvan

Amanda: You just submitted a comment alleging (in my view) unethical behavior by a particular journal. I cannot approve the comment as written given the blog’s mission. Although I’m not certain, at least in some jurisdictions it might even count as libel. In any case, if you’d like to resubmit the comment anonymizing the journal (though you could note it is a very well-ranked one), I’d be happy to approve it—but only in that case. I would email you the comment so that you could revise it, but I’m not sure the email associated with your comment is real or fictitious.

Marcus Arvan

Addendum to Amanda: if you approve me to anonymize the journal name, I can do that on your behalf and post the revised comment.

Anon

Speaking of separating publications from works in progress: I have an edited book which is under contract with a very good publisher. I guess it would be a gross mistake to put the volume with the specification 'under contract' in the section publications. What do you think?

Marcus Arvan

My understanding is that it is perfectly fine to explicitly list things 'under contract' under publications, both for books and for articles/chapters.

My sense is that this is fine (whereas listing articles under review or under R&R is not fine) because a contract is a presumptive commitment by a publisher to *actually* publish the work. In this regard, it is roughly akin to a conditional acceptance, which I understand to be fine to explicitly list under publications for analogous reasons.

Everyone knows that book contracts can fall through, just like conditional acceptances can fall through with journals (if, for example, the editor rejects the final manuscript). The important thing is simply to list explicitly that the book is under contract (not "forthcoming", unless the final version has been accepted). That way, if the contract somehow falls through and anyone asks about it, you can always provide the contract to show that what you listed on your CV was honest.

But perhaps I am wrong about this. I'd be curious to see if anyone has a different take.

Miscellaneous R1 Professor

Nothing should be listed as a publication unless it is definitively going to be published. A book, book chapter, or article under contract is "Work in Progress." So is an article that has been conditionally accepted. I feel fairly confident that this judgment is pretty widely shared, though I could be wrong about that.

Marcus Arvan

Misc. R1 prof: Interesting, I guess that makes sense—and it just occurred to me that I do something slightly different on my own CV that I’d be curious to get your take on. My CV just lists “Books” and then lists my 2016 book and then my second book as “under contract.” Similarly, I have a heading for “Articles in Edited Volumes” that lists articles already published as well as those under contract. The only heading that I have that explicitly says *publications* is my category for peer-reviewed journal publications.

In your view, is this approach fine? I have to confess I’d be a bit surprised if it weren’t—but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been surprised on professional matters!

anonymous

I agree with Misc. R1 prof. (except maybe about conditional acceptances). Let me add that the advice I was given, which seems right to me and which aligns with what I tell my grad students, is that if something is both basically done (i.e. you have a very polished version of it), is guaranteed to be published (i.e. it was either accepted at a peer-reviewed journal, or was invited and the editor has made clear that they will be publishing it), then it can go under publications.

I think one source of confusion here is about invited publications--they can still be peer reviewed, they can still be rejected by the editor who invited you, etc.--but I don't know if grad students and other people who are quite junior on the market realize that.

In general, I think the "cannot list it under publications unless you have actually done the work" rule is a good one. So if you have a book contract, but not a complete, polished, accepted (or conditionally accepted) version of the book, that should not be listed as a publication but rather 'work in progress'. Likewise for an article you were commissioned to write.

The only thing I'm more on the fence about is conditional acceptances at journals. I think of conditional acceptances as acceptances with some very minor required changes. I do know of one case in which someone's conditionally accepted paper was then rejected, but the fact is that everyone who heard of this case thought that the journal behaved very, very badly. This makes me think that a conditional acceptance is thought of by most people as a guaranteed publication, and in such a case someone does have a very polished version of the paper in hand.

I think that one thing that is de-emphasized way too much in discussions about the market is the difference between how much work you've basically completed (and how good that work is) and how much work you've published. At least in my dept, no one is going to care about your book contract or your commissioned article that you have not yet written. This is because we basically don't think that, at least early on in the process of trying to publish, what journal something is published in or whether it is published is a good guide to how good the work is.

To list commissioned but not complete work under 'publications' seems extremely deceptive to me. Departments like mine want to know what your plan is to get tenure. There's a world of difference between 'someone asked me to write a paper for this volume' and 'this project is finished and I can now spend my time on other things'.

Amanda

It's not libel if it can be proven true, so I wasn't worried about that. But I'm still counting on the day that this type of email is sent to me personally, and I suspect the odds are high it will happen. Then I will think of the best way to publicize the discussion. Until then my options are much more limited, as I value my friends more than my childish need to be proven right.

Anyway- I'm too tired to deal with it as things are. Maybe I will be in the mood another day. The world isn't the way I want it be. Oh well. I have gotten over my very silly, but also very common, undergrad philosophy major belief that the philosophy world is some type of special profession that cares more about truth and virtue than other professions. What I can't seem to get over, (and I should, I really should, it is immature of me not to) is that the philosophy profession also consists of two groups who both frustrate me to no end, (1) those who know the profession is not aimed at truth and virtue, but like to pretend it is anyway, and (2) those who are still naive enough to believe that philosophy, to a degree much greater than other professions, is aimed at truth and virtue.

FWIW, the email is real. I just rarely check it. I could check it, if I knew I was expecting a non-spam email.

Amanda

Marcus - just noticed your comment about you anonymizing my previous comment. Sure, I can go ahead with that. Thank you.

Amana

I like the discussion about books and articles under contract because I think it illustrates just how hard it can be to do the right thing on the job market. While there is vast disagreement about this issue (just go look at CVs of random established and assistant professors - I would bet most have contracted books either under "books" or "publications.") I was told by my job market mentor (not through the cocoon program), in strong terms, that it looked bad to have a "works in progress" section on my CV. But even though there is disagreement, people feel very strongly and confidently about their opinion, and seem to hold it against a candidate if they find out the CV wasn't written in the way they think is obviously correct.

I just think it is odd to have a separate policy for contracted work depending on whether you have a copy of the work on your computer. So if someone put that on a CV, you would have to email them and ask if they have a completed copy to know whether you considered that an honest use of the word "publication"? It just seems either you take the position that something has to be accepted, or that under contract is good enough (and being invited to do a chapter isn't yet a contract, or at least not d

Amanda

I tend to agree that lies are either too big of a risk, (there is a good chance of detecting them) or that they will offer very little reward. I also agree that most of the time a candidate's character and just general pleasantness to be around are taken into account. Actually, I suspect this is done to a greater degree than is fair, and that the large number of socially awkward people that used to be very common in the profession are going to become a small minority, as the competition is so stiff search committees have a choice between very talented and socially *competent* philosophers, and very talented and socially *incompetent* philosophers. That said, the bigger of a deal one is, at least at research universities, the less people will care about character and pleasantness. If you are a hot shot from a top program, most R1's will put aside the fact that you are an ass. Or, as we have learned with Berkeley, that you physically /sexually assault female undergraduates. While tolerance for sexual harassment, and even more, assault, has thankfully gone down, there is still plenty of problematic things search committees will overlook if you bring prestige to a research university (of course not all R1s, not all the time, but I am just saying this is common.)

In addition, none of this speaks to other morally problematic aspects of hiring that don't have much to do with out right lies. If you got a paper in [Highly-Ranked Journal Name Redacted], you have a paper in [Journal Redacted], whether or it was actually blind reviewed. I know some people won't believe this story. And as it was happening yesterday , I had this overwhelming wish I had some type of recorder and that I could show it to the cocoon readers. But I didn't. And I wouldn't publicly rat out a friend, anyway. So those who won't believe me, won't believe me. But for others who find me a perhaps somewhat believable poster, this is what happened: I was having lunch with a friend who is a R1 professor. We talked about publishing, the best kind of system, etc. It came up that my friend recently got a request to review a paper for [Journal Redacted]. My friend wrote to the editor and said, "I know who wrote this paper. I have already seen it presented at a workshop." The editor wrote back, "It doesn't matter." (I am not sure if that is a direct quote.) In any case, my friend reviewed the paper, and a RandR was recommended. My friend said that it was an RandR instead of an acceptance because they were worried about being too positively biased toward the paper. Eh. This is how it goes.

Digression aside, at my university when you go up for tenure, there is a committee that *very closely* reviews your CV. It is actually somewhat common to find "mistakes" (things that are not true) listed on the CV. Most of the time what happens is there isn't really enough evidence to assume the person was lying, so nothing much happens other than the correction is made and maybe some people think of you differently. But notice in this case you don't get any benefit, and probably some harm,. This even happens with publications, by the way. But that is usually in the sciences, where people have very long lists of publications (can be hundreds), and the untruths have to do with the order of the authoring.

Trying to understand

Amanda
Can you please clarify what the morally questionable or disturbing part of your story is? Is it that the editor let your friend referee even though he knew who the author was? Or is it that your friend gave a R&R assessment, for fear of being biased? I truly want to understand the situation.

Marcus Arvan

Trying to understand: I can’t speak for Amanda, but I can speak for myself. If a journal states that their editorial policy is that the journal practices anonymized review but then the editor tells a referee who knows the author’s identity to go right ahead and review it, then the editor has violated the journal’s own policy, as well as a peer-review practice (anonymized review) the very purpose of which is to prevent people from unfairly helping their friends or hurting those they may have biases against. The point of anonymized review is at least partly ethical in nature, and in permitting violations of it a journal arguably commits two ethical violations: (1) dishonesty about its practices (saying it practices anonymized review when it doesn’t really), and (2) undermining a practice the very purpose of which is to prevent unethical behavior (bias for and against people unfairly impacting the publishing process).

Grad student

Quick question: My placement adviser recommended including a list of courses I am prepared to teach directly on the CV after the list of courses I have solo taught. Is that something people do?

Amanda

Trying to understand: I don't think my friend did anything wrong, or at least it was much less wrong than what the editor and the journal did. Here is what is morally disturbing though, summarized as what as I see is the big picture problem.

Journals claim to take blind review very seriously. They write that on their webpage and publicize it is the journal's strict policy. And then in practice, they act completely contrary to those claims. That is false advertisement and it is deceptive. It is also deceptive in a way that has serious and negative consequences for the discipline. Blind review was designed because their is overwhelming evidence that humans cannot fairly assess the work of someone when they know the author, especially when the author is someone they know well, and even more so, a friend. Hence, blind review was designed to allow the impartial assessment of philosophical quality. The entire point (or a huge point) of journals is that they are a screening system to separate quality work from work that is not of the same quality. When something is published in a top journal, the thought is it has gone through a screening process that makes it especially likely that it will be of high quality. But if there is no blind review, and especially if papers are frequently reviewed by the author's friends, then this screening process is broken. The review system is not doing what is (1) designed to do, and (2) what the journals claim that it does. Even more, this system gives even more advantages to those who are already advantaged. Those in the prestige circles of philosophy will have a meaningful advantage in getting published, as it is more likely their paper will be reviewed by a friend who already views their work highly.

Now, it might be the case that there is no reasonable way to have blind review anymore. I will push aside whether this is actually the case but suppose that it is the case. Well, if so, journals should stop claiming to be blind review. They should simply claim to be peer review. Or at the very least, it should be made clear that "we will attempt to find a reviewer who does not know the author, but this is not always possible." It is wrong to have a system that claims to be blind review when it isn't, especially when there is so much extra weight given to journal articles in virtue of the fact they are blind reviewed. For instance, we just talked about anthology articles. These are typically given less weight than journal articles because the idea is that journal articles are blind reviewed. Grad students with a great publication record (or anyone with this record, really) are considered, in some sense, to have demonstrated some type of impressive skill because they managed to get articles past blind review. But if at least some of the people with great publishing records have many of their papers reviewed by friends and associates, this is a very misleading social norm. It allows people who published via connections *to claim* that they published via talent. So if we cannot have blind review because it is impractical, we should stop calling it this.

What I find shocking is the simultaneous existence of persons in the profession who,

1. Know that this happens all the time but think that it is no big deal (but are oddly opposed to just slightly modifying the system so that we call it "peer review" instead of "blind peer review."

2. People who, against much evidence, insist that this kind of situation is a rarity, and that the vast majority of the time, people with great publishing records had most of their papers blindly and impartially reviewed (in my experience, these people tend to be those who have "worked their way up" and maybe landed an R1 job when their PhD wasn't prestigious. The cynic in me thinks that they don't want to lose the claim that their talent allowed them to overcome the odds *and* that they are part of a research circle that *really* is more talented than those out of the circle. Well, maybe these people did work their way up, some papers, many papers, are indeed blind reviewed. But the more connected one is, the less likely this is to be true.)

I tend to think my friend did little wrong because they know that the journal does not follow blind review, so if they refused to review the paper, it could just go to another person who might be more biased than my friend. But one might make the argument every person must play their role, no matter how small, in trying to make the system work.

Miscellaneous R1 Professor

Marcus, maybe I'm more idiosyncratic than I thought, but that seems pretty obviously wrong to me. I haven't listed any of my books under "Books" until they were legitimately in press: that is, they had been accepted and only awaiting copyediting and such. Until then they were under "Work in Progress." (And it seems absolutely insane to me to object to a Work in Progress section.)

As for conditionally accepted articles, if one hasn't met the conditions yet, they haven't been accepted yet. So they're not publications yet.

Amanda

Miscellaneous R1 Professor: Your position is fine. You have reasons for it that seem reasonable. But perhaps it would help to know that many don't see it as clear as you do. The vast majority of people i've talked to (and I guess this could be not representative, but that would seem odd) support conditional acceptances as something to put as a publication. (I've never had a conditional acceptance, so I have no stake here.) The book thing is not as universal, but I would still say confidently that a decent chunk of people think a signed book contract is okay to put under publications, as long as it is made clear what the state of the publishing process actually is.

I think the reasoning from people on both of these things goes like this: what matters (in this world where the publishing process is ungodly slow, and where it is common for books and articles to be read, distributed, and discussed before they are actually published.) is the *odds* that something will be published. Once something is conditionally accepted, the odds are probably like 98% that it will be published, if not higher. While signed book contracts are probably not as high, my guess is that they are pretty high - but maybe I'm wrong about that.

Unless I am missing something, it seems you are using a similar reasoning process. You are okay putting it down as a publication when it is written and all that needs to happen is copy-editing. But why is that the standard, as opposed to when it actually comes out? Something could always happen, even though the odds are low, that results in it not actually being published. Moreover, if it is not published, if we want to get technical, then it is not "a publication yet."

The objection I got to the works in progress section was like this: "You already have enough publications. Putting down a works in progress section is something someone does when they are desperate and don't have enough publications. Works in progress don't mean anything because you can just completely make them up so there is no sense in taking in anything in that section seriously." FWIW, I ignored the advice and included the section anyway, and seemed to do well on the market.

Miscellaneous R1 Professor

My thoughts on this may have been shaped too much by what seems like a zillion years on T&P committees, where there's a bright-line rule: only what is definitively in press "counts." It's not about odds, though; it's about whether the work is fully submitted and there's a definite commitment on the part of the press/journal/whatever to publish it. Sure, it's probably no more likely that my conditionally accepted article won't be accepted than it is that my book currently in second-pass proofs won't see the light of day. But the latter has cleared all hurdles in a way that the former has not.

Having acknowledged now -- twice -- that my views on this may well be out of the mainstream, I won't belabor that. If anything, this all simply illustrates a point made above: you just can't win with this stuff. If you put a book under contract under "Books," I'm going to think you're padding (and ignorant of professional norms). If you put it under "Work in Progress," someone else is going to think you're padding (and ignorant of professional norms). It doesn't matter as much for me, because people kind of expect senior-ish people to do weird things on their CVs. But junior people are expected to do things *the right way* -- only there's nothing like consensus on what the right way is.

Amand

Yes...it is rough out there, really rough.

Philosadjacent

Thanks MR1P and Amand--seriously, very helpful.

Let's rephrase: what's the most risk-averse way to put a book that's *under contract*--that is, a signed contract with agreement to publish so long as it meets basic requirements of length, timing, and looks like a scholarly book--on a junior scholar's CV? Would a heading of "Under Contract" just below "Articles" look like padding to anyone? Maybe include something like "proposal and chapters available upon request" in parentheses?

I'm advising someone on this right now...so suggestions appreciated!

Amanda

Philosadjacent - I think this is pretty hard to tell. And the recent conversation here makes it even harder than I realized. I suspect any advice on this is going to be a "best guess." But if I was going on the market again, I would personally now do the following in having the wide-ranging heading and then sub-headings:

PUBLISHED, FORTHCOMING, AND CONTRACTED RESEARCH (I would clearly label things, so that it was obvious wha was what - if something was already published I think just putting regular citation info should be clear.)

Books

Articles

Reviews

Popular Writing


I would then have a separate main heading

WORKS IN PROGRESS

Mike Titelbaum

WAY earlier in this thread, someone recommended against putting things like "Awards" ahead of one's publications on a CV. I actually think there are cases in which that can make sense. Our discipline is becoming more like other disciplines in that one's ability to bring in grants and win prizes can make one more attractive to employers. So if you've got some of those to show off, it can make sense to list them above your publications. But I'd recommend this mainly for more senior people, with the necessary condition that you actually have impressive things to list in your Awards/Grants section.

Amanda

Mike, fair enough, but this blog is aimed at grad students/junior people on the market. And the ones I have seen were not so much grants, but dissertation awards and the like.

Mia

I am just about to start graduate school (MA/PhD) and I have a related CV question. I was notified that one of my articles was accepted by an undergraduate journal the week I graduated with my BA. Since this is a publication, should I continue to list it on my CV, as long as it is clear that it is in an undergraduate journal? Should I remove the publication once I am a few years into graduate school? I am proud of the work I did. It reflects one of my major research interests and a chunk of my undergraduate thesis, so I want to show it off a bit, but not if it undermines my CV. Thanks.

Al

Apologies if this came above (couldn’t find it anyway). What’s the going view on including a very short dissertation abstract on the Cv? And what about a longer one at the very end? I’m worried this looks too junior/grad student-ish but it seems to be the norm in my department and I can see the point of including it.

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