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11/12/2020

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Simon P.

Not a search committee member but a graduate student, but I have been told that this advice does not apply to graduate students.

Specifically, for those who do not have an extensive publication record, i.e. PhD students who graduate with 0-3 papers, listing a number of 'under review' and 'in preparation' can be a helpful way to show further work in the pipeline. Of course, these counts have to be accurate and a draft has to be producible within hours if requested.

So I think as a graduate student going on the job market for the first time, it'd be unwise to leave it off the CV, at least that's what I have been told.

SLAC Associate

An exception I might make is for work that has been solicited but not accepted for publication yet -- a book under contract or an article that has been solicited for an edited volume, say. At least at my teaching institution with rather modest publication standards for tenure, I can expect that those solicited pieces will ultimately be a publication on the CV, and my preference would be to hire someone who I know will meet our publication expectation rather than someone who has the nebulous promise of doing so.

Trevor Hedberg

Not a search committee member, but I have been told on several occasions in the past that there can be benefits to having a "Works-in-Progress" section (that is separate from publications) to give an indication of what you're currently working on. I've no idea if that would give any indication of "promise", but it is one way to convey one's fit for the position if these WIPs are in an AOS or AOC tied to the job description.

E

Marcus and others: out of curiosity, do you feel the same way about unpublished works-in-progress that have a planned home? I'm thinking here of books under contract, invited chapters for edited volumes, and the like. It seems to me like it would reflect well on a candidate if, for example, they have been invited to submit a chapter to a book edited by a prominent figure in their subfield.

Marcus Arvan

E: in my view, books under contract and pieces that have been invited are fine, provided they are correctly listed as 'under contract' or 'invited/in-preparation' (rather than 'forthcoming').

The relevant difference here compared to papers under review is simple: although books under contract and invited articles can in some cases be eventually rejected, there is a plausible presumption that they will be published. I listed my first book as 'under contract' in my last year on the market, and it seemed to help me tremendously.

JDF

The point of listing work in progress is to say to a search committee that they can request to see this material from you if they would like to read more of your work in considering your candidacy. This happens often enough when searches get to the shortlisting stage to be worth including, in my experience.

p

JDF and others,
It is precisely junior people applying for entry level positions that SHOULD NOT list things under review. They are the ones who, in my experience, pad their c.v.s.
With senior positions, tenured positions, if you haven't heard of the person they are not even going to get considered.
I would love to know who is telling people to list things under review. ... why not list things you intend to submit as well.
JDF - I cannot know why the people asked about things you listed, but it MAY be because they wanted to see if you were being honest listing them. I do not know, but neither do you.
As a member of a hiring committee, it is very easy to start up conversation about what someone is working on. They can then say such and such papers are under review. But if they tell where they are under review, I have no reason to be impressed. Anyone can send anything anywhere.

anonymous person

I got my own job just a few years ago out of grad school having published a single paper. Listing the things I had under review/in progress was important to me getting my job--other candidates had a lot more publications than me, and it helped (a) convince certain members of the department that I had enough stuff in the pipeline to be able to be productive enough to get tenure at an R1 school; (b) the department convince the administration that I was a strong candidate for the position even though the other candidates had more accomplished CVs than I did. I've been told these things by my own colleagues. I think it's bad advice to tell grad students not to list works in progress or papers under review on their CVs. I do think that grad students should not list what journals those papers are under review at (anyone can submit a paper to any journal, this is not impressive). I also think it is better to simply have a 'works in progress' section if you are in this position, and then list the status of each thing ('under review'; 'R&R'; 'fully drafted', etc.) but not put anything super drafty in that category (everything in that category should be showable to a hiring department).

If people think this is CV padding... they should realize that it really does help sometimes. (I'm also a placement director and I think that it has helped some of my students with no or one publications get jobs at more teaching-focused schools, which just want to see that people will be able to publish a few things before tenure.) Thus they should probably get over seeing it as CV padding, since there's a strong reason to do it, and just be a little more understanding of why people might do it/stop being annoyed by it.

Searching now

I'm working through a bunch of application as we speak, and I for one would like a section of 'under review' (don't mention the journal name, that is entirely meaningless) and 'works in progress', since it helps me figure out what the applicant is currently working on. Published works might be the result of work from a few years ago. I will warn NOT to put those under review and works in progress in any way that appears as though you are trying to trick the CV reader into thinking that you have more publications than you do.

JDF

To P,

I know why some people ask for these papers because I know people who ask for them. I also have friends who now have jobs at top 20 places who after a first round interview received an email from a member of the hiring committee along the lines of

'Dear so-and-so, it was wonderful to meet you. I see on your CV that you list such-and-such a paper. Would it be possible to send it along?'

The committee ended up saying things about the essays at the on-campus interview which clearly indicated that they had read them. So at least some of them weren't bluff-catching. I don't know why it would matter anyway even if they were. As I said, you list stuff on your CV which you will be willing to send to people if they ask. So there is nothing to catch.

Kenny Pearce

I have been on a couple of search committees. I like to see a "Works in Progress and Under Review" section (especially if I'm not reading a separate research statement, and especially if the papers have informative titles). It tells me what you currently have in the pipeline and where in the pipeline it is, and it gives some indication of your research trajectory. It doesn't seem like 'padding' to me.

It's best if it lists the status of each item. But don't list it unless you've made enough progress on the project that you'd be willing to circulate a draft.

Ben

Apart from the CV-padding objection, listing papers under review also compromises the anonymity of peer review, at least if the real paper name is used (and even when it's not).

Tim

I used to just provide a statement saying that I had 'X' number of papers under review and the areas they were in. I felt like this wasn't overly obnoxious; it gave a sense of what areas I was working in; and it didn't comprise any type of peer review.

triple anon

OP here, thanks a ton for all of this helpful feedback!

R

I'd also like to weigh in against Marcus and the other reader quoted in the OP. I think it's perfectly fine to list work in progress and in some cases it would be ill-advised to leave them out.

When I was ABD and first going on the market, a friend of mine who happened to be on a search committee at a hiring department reached out and wrote:

"A friendly suggestion for you. On your CV you should include works in progress in a separate section beneath your published work. This is especially important for early academics since it gives people a sense of what/how much you have in the pipeline and where your research is going. For you it's relevant since you have so much besides your published work in good shape. Every person pretty much does it. IMO it looks like perhaps you don't have them if you don't list them because it is standard."

At the time I had two papers out and five or six under review, which as others have mentioned above is probably the sort of scenario where this matters most.

All this comes with the usual caveats: you should work to avoid any suggestions that these papers are published or accepted for publication (clearly demarcate works in progress in a separate section and avoid the word "forthcoming"); journal titles should only be mentioned if you have an RnR or the paper is commissioned; and the paper should be in good enough shape that you're willing to circulate a draft (or have one available on your website or a preprint server).

If you do those things a committee member who views this as padding is being quite unreasonable in my view (which, sadly, is not to say this won't happen).

RJM

UK context here: I was always told that including work in progress on a CV is a good idea if it is unclear whether your current publication record is sufficient for the purposes of REF. Obviously all the above applies (don't pretend they are publications etc). Probably this works best if you already have some publications, so it is a reasonable inference that you will not find it too hard to get some more.

Prof L

I’m a bit perplexed by the “padding” objection. I think listing works under review or in progress is useful—much more useful than other things included on a CV (“professional affiliations”, etc.). As long as it’s clearly labeled, I don’t understand the objection at all. Moreover, this seems to be a moral objection, like someone is doing something untoward by telling you what they are working on or what’s in the pipeline. I’m totally baffled by these comments. Is it “padding” to have other sections some might see as unnecessary, like a coursework section? If not, what’s the difference?

G

I would like to second Ben's point above that "listing papers under review also compromises the anonymity of peer review". I personally think that it is a serious concern. For example, if you list a paper under review on your cv and make your cv public, you seem to be okay with letting everyone know about a paper that is under *blind* review. This seems problematic to me.

H

I understand G's concern. What I did was only list papers under review on the CV I sent for job applications. My public CV didn't have these. I think that strikes the right balance.

anon

The threat that listing an under review article on one's CV poses to anonymous review seems pretty small to me. It's probably a lot smaller than other threats that we seem comfortable tolerating (e.g. we give public talks about unpublished manuscripts).

Ben

In reply to anon, I think forward-looking considerations might give out here. Unless one is willing to modify paper titles for the sake of workshopping/conference-presenting (which would be non-standard), that some people will know, via one's public presentations, the titles of of some of one's in-progress work is just the upshot of presenting work. Presenting in-progress work to other philosophers is partly constitutive of being part of a philosophical community. I don't think the same can be said for public postings of one's academic resume.

sm

I used to list papers under review as "under review," but they were also under the "Works in Progress" portion of my CV. So I don't think I was tricking anyone. But this thread makes me think that I should just mention in my cover letter that I've got papers out for review, and leave that phrase off my CV altogether...

Is this something Marcus and others in the Marcus camp would suggest? Or is even mentioning them in cover letters not a great look?

Marcus' camper

sm
The cover letter should contain the most important things in your application. Papers under review - that may in fact never be published - are not those.
I think what people fail to consider is that the gain of listed papers under review is close to nil. No one ever gets shortlisted because they had that paper under review that another candidate did not have.
But lots of files get set aside because the applicants has made it too hard to determine what really is published, or even gives the impression that they are deceptive

Prof L

I’m kind of ashamed to be a member of this profession after reading this thread.

Turns out there are a bunch of [people] out there who can’t read a section heading. So having an in-progress or under review section in your CV is unwise, because they are perplexed by it and will blame you for their confusion. You are clearly trying to trick them!

I don’t know how many people are perusing your CVs—but I tend to think the chances of someone coming across it who also happens to be your referee are pretty low.

(Moderator's note: this comment has been slightly edited for content, in lieu of the blog's mission)

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