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I agree with everything you said, Marcus.

It might bear mentioning that I often see book reviews lumped in with publications--especially when they appear in otherwise prestigious venues, like Mind or Phil. Review or whatever. When they're lumped in like that, they're often not clearly marked as book reviews; the telltale clue is the page range (looking it up then confirms the review status). And it's not just job marketeers whom I've seen do that, either.

If that's what one is doing, then it may well be that a review would be useful for job applications. Unless whoever's evaluating your file catches that particular bit of dishonesty.

anon job applicant

This was a timely question and a helpful answer. Thank you to the OP and Marcus.


I've been told multiple times by senior members of the profession not to even list a book review as a publication unless one has something peer reviewed. And, even then, to list it in an entirely separate section devoted solely to book reviews. It's annoying to see some people trying to pass off a book review as a real publication.

Can we talk about something else I've found a little strange? I see some people listing undergraduate publications, in undergraduate journals, as publications, on their job market CVs. This seems really strange and juvenile to me. I, too, published in "undergrad journals" as an undergrad. But looking back now, my work was garbage, and I think it should be recognized as garbage. I also did "editorial work" for an undergrad journal, as an undergrad. And out of nearly 500 papers I looked at it, literally fewer than 3 were even coherent.

Can we please agree to stop listing undergraduate publications as if they are a real professional accomplishment or publication? The standards at some of these places are embarassingly low, even for undergraduate work. So I contend that no serious job marketeer should list an undergraduate publication on their CV.


Confused: RE: undergrad journals. Charitably, I suspect people are doing this because they are worried about violating the norm of listing everything you've published on your CV. (I guess the worry is that leaving things off that you think makes you less desirable is misleading?)

Anyway, I agree that it's not a great move for a candidate, but I'm also confused about why you care about whether other people are doing and want to try to establish a norm here? I mean, what does it matter to you whether other people are doing this? It's not going to help them and may well hurt them, but you don't seem concerned for their job market prospects--instead you seem strangely irritated at them. It might be nicer to couch this as just passing along advice--I think you are right about this as a piece of advice!

RE: book reviews: I personally think it's very bad advice to not list them, regardless of what other publications one has or doesn't have, and regardless of how they were (or weren't) reviewed or solicited. But I agree that they should be very clearly marked as book reviews and not journal articles. (So the separate section advice is important.)

Also, I disagree with Marcus that book reviews can't help someone's job application. Anecdotally, but still I think relevantly in this horrible job market: I've served as placement director in my department for three years. When our students get tenure track jobs, they are typically at places that either emphasize both teaching and research, or emphasize mostly teaching (sometimes with minimal research emphasis). I've spoken on the phone to the chair of one department in the latter category which ended up making an offer to one of our students, who had only a book review listed on his c.v. And the dept. chair very clearly communicated to me that they had minimal publishing standards for tenure (1-2 papers) but did care about engagement with contemporary work in philosophy, and that book reviews were actually the kinds of things that could be taken to show that there. So... this is just one case. But still I think the fact that there is one case is maybe enough in the horrible job market we are in to think that book reviews could help? It seems like there is at least one department in which they count in the 'research' category for tenure and promotion, alongside things like conference presentations, in a way that they don't count at all for e.g. junior faculty in my own department.

Marcus Arvan

Hey anonymous: Thanks for sharing that story! It's always helpful to learn which of one's preconceptions are and are not well-founded. :)


Thank you for this OP.

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