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« Non-Traditional Paths into Philosophy (Paul Taborsky) | Main | Should dissertations be cited? »

08/24/2021

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Anton

Sorry I can’t help the OP instead of just adding another question. Do readers think it is wise to mention the existence of R-and-Rs in a cover letter? And if so, the journal names? Does the answer change if they are highly regarded journals? For my case in particular: I have two other publications at decent journals. Thanks as always for everyone’s help.

Bram

I've seen the phrase 'recently had revisions requested from Journal X' pop up in letters. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, but I'm interested to hear what others think.

Getting an R and R is a non-trivial achievement. Especially in top journals.

There is a slight risk of breaching anonymity if someone in the hiring process is involved with the refereeing process, but I don't think it is much bigger than when you list work in progress on the CV or website, which I take to be standard practice.

Marcus Arvan

Bram: I agree. An R&R is a tangible accomplishment--not a publication, obviously, but the kind of thing that provides an indication to a search committee that the author is likely to publish the piece. I would by all means mention an R&R in a cover letter, including the journal name. Yes, there is a non-trivial possibility of breaching anonymity, but it seems to me probably worth it for a job-candidate and an appropriate thing to include in a job application.

Tim

If you don't have any publications, then you cannot list certain papers as accomplishments. But you can still describe a sequence of unpublished papers that look like the sort of thing that would, eventually, be published. I think part of what search committees look for is evidence that you will be productive in your research; the simplest evidence is that you have been productive. But if you can communicate that you have three papers submitted to journals that are in a subject matter relevant to the job, that might be the best evidence you can offer.

William Vanderburgh

I agree with Marcus's concluding comment: If you don't have any publications at all you are probably not competitive for almost any full-time academic job. Even at my university, which is heavily teaching focused, all our shortlisted candidates in recent searches have had publications in hand (mostly, sevearal). There are so many excellent people on the market for the few tenure-track jobs available, making the short list is harder than ever. Without pubs, especially ABD, I'd recommend sitting this year out and focusing on getting done (delay defense so you can keep your status, but have the work finished) and getting one or two publications from it.

It is perfectly acceptable (and good practice) to let the search committee know if a paper moves from "under review" to "R&R", or to "accepted." When you email with that news, attach an updated c.v.

m

What you should resist is making a judgment in your cover letter to the effect that these likely to be published. You can describe where they are in the process, and describe their content, but much more risks sounding deceptive. Consider two applicants, one has a paper under review at APQ, the other a paper under review at JPhil. There is no evidence that either is a better philosophy - ZERO. Anyone can send anything to any journal. Now run the thought experiment with only one philosopher. You get the same result.

anonymous junior faculty

If it's perfectly acceptable to let search committees if things change from under review to R&R or accepted, and most jobs deadlines are not for a couple months still, I think it's strange advice to tell this person to sit the job market out. (Also, I don't think we should advise people to sit the job market out for a year when we don't know their situation--maybe this person has no choice/no further funding (even if they could keep ABD status), which is a common situation to be in.

Also, fwiw, people are still getting tenure track jobs with no publications, though I agree it's less common (two of my students have gotten jobs with no publications over the past three years (small program, so significant), but also I've seen people on philjobs' appointments list who have no publications). But I think people are making a mistake here equating "applying for jobs" with "applying for tenure track jobs". You can still be competitive for VAPs and other lecturing jobs, many postdocs, and so on without publications.

I understand that we want to give people a realistic picture of the market and I agree it is a huge disadvantage on the market to not have publications, but I worry the discussion here is going to be *too* discouraging to a candidate who didn't ask for our advice about their chances on the market--they may already be fully aware of that, or they may not be interested in our advice--but merely asked for advice about writing a cover letter. I would feel crappy if this was the kind of advice I got after a simple inquiry about how to write a cover letter!

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