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Publication requirements at R1 schools

This is a great thread. It would be useful to know whether there is a minimum number of articles accepted/published in top journals at R1 schools when coming up for tenure.

anonymous associate professor

@Publication requirements: this varies too much to be useful, but also a lot of elite schools don't have explicit # of publication tenure requirements (though there's a lot of variation in that too, my experience/talking to people suggests that at least very generally, the less elite the school, the more explicit the tenure requirements will be). There are also e.g. schools like mine (R1, fairly elite) where our department does have explicit tenure requirements, and wants to be somewhat permissive in who they tenure, but many tenure denials happen at the administrative level, not the department level, so those tenure requirements don't mean much. I just don't think there's any kind of one-size-fits-all answer to your question. (Also: lots of elite and elite-ish schools seem to put a huge amount of weight on external letters--so it's not about placing things in top journals, but rather about what experts think about your work. Of course those things may be correlated, but definitely aren't always.)


Unfortunately, the problem is more systematic than conversations between family members at the dinner table. Here is another example. For some international scholars hired by US institutions, there are different types of applications for a green card. Some types are way faster than others. Understandably, how quickly you can acquire a green card depends on how important you are to your field. And the deemed "objective" measurement of your importance to your field is publications and (especially) citations. Those who are in charge believe that the more your works are cited, the more recognized you are in your field.

Since most of the International hires are in STEM fields, the number of publications and citations in STEM becomes the default standard. Of course those who are in charge do not know much about disciplinary differences; they only care about numbers. It is incredibly difficult (if possible) for a philosopher to use those faster options to get a green card. I have friends who have excellent publications in philosophy but have to find all possible ways to have their works cited. They also have to find good attorneys who want to help (which means time, money, etc.) unless they want to just wait for a longer time.


One thing that I didn't see Marcus mention (maybe too obvious, given the data you've posted), is that I have the sense that citation rates WITHIN philosophy also vary a lot by sub-discipline. That is, if you work in e.g, an area of philosophy of science or bioethics with any "overlap" with say, biology or psychology or health sciences, this can significantly boost the number of citations you receive, since you also have a pool of folks in other disciplines to potentially cite you (and sometimes these disciplines are much bigger: after all, there are MANY times more biologists than philosophers of biology... )

On the other hand, if you work in some area of "philosophers philosophy" - perhaps abstract topics in metaphysics (not "applied" or "social" metaphysics) or abstract areas of logic, an obscure (unpopular) area of history of philosophy, etc. the average number of citations might be significantly lower.

I'm at an R1: to address Marcus' question in bold: I'd agree with the anonymous associate professor that there are no general rules - at least not at our University. If your outside letters are really strong, and you publish in good places, you're fine, even if you have little to no citations; even if you don't have very many pubs. This depends a bit on your subarea (see above). Of course, it is still true that it can be harder to make this case about citations metrics to other departments at the University, and so having a lot of citations or pubs when you have a less strong file otherwise (so-so outside letters, etc.) could certainly help you get tenure in the eyes of faculty from other departments. A lot depends on how much various Deans and such trust your department and their judgment, in these "borderline" cases. The same point holds with quality vs. quantity - philosophers typically have a lot fewer pubs than say, economists, and one has to make a case about these differences. Of course, at some point, the quantity is probably too small, even with a lot of citations, for the department to make a credible case.

By my sense is that it isn't too hard to convince the other departments that the citation averages vary a lot between disciplines. But maybe we've been fortunate.

Would also be interested to see any data (PHIL PAPERS?) on citation average differences across different subdisciplines within philosophy.

Newly Dr.

I just wanted to add that it sounds like you've got a lot of citations to me. Having roughly 10 citations per publication after (presumably) only a few years seems like a pretty amazing achievement in philosophy. Maybe I'm miss-calibrated badly, but I can only dream of having a citation count that high (I'm currently at 1 citation for 2 papers, although they've only been out for a year or so).


I second Newly Dr. Having 40+ (I assume) citations from 5 publications strikes me as quite good, and better than many, though it depends a little on when they were published. Your elders have no clue. It's ridiculous comparing citations/publication numbers between a humanities and a STEM scholar. 200 citations for 30+ publications is actually on the low side (though it'll vary hugely btw biomedicine and, say, non-applied maths). As for 5 vs 30 pubs, how many of the 30 are single-author? If multi-author, in how many is he first author? If you work in a well-oiled lab, it's not particularly difficult to appear in the middle of many multi-author papers.
Heads up, OP, you're doing just fine!

Nick Byrd

PhilPeople users can see their own stats about not only publication quantity and citation, but also downloads—each ranked by percentile.

Those data can help provide within-discipline context/comparison as well as alternative metrics (e.g., a paper may be impactful according to its downloads even if not it is—or is not yet—impactful according to its citations).

I am not suggesting, of course, that these quantitative metrics are perfect. There is surely noise, bias, and other stuff in the data, but unless there is no signal whatsoever in those data, then they are more informative than nothing (and more quantifiable for people/institutions who demand that).

Nick Byrd

Altmetric is—well—an alternative metric of impact. It tracks papers' social media shares, news coverage, Wikipedia citations, blog mentions, etc. Altmetric is good for picking up on early signs of impact that precede citations in peer-reviewed books and journals (since the latter take longer to publish than what Altmetric tracks).

The main features of Altmetric are free for authors and readers to use. (Note: I find that a DOI is among the best ways to find papers via Altmetric.)

Of course, the same caveats about discipline differences in citations, volume, co-authorship, etc. probably apply to Altmetric as well as they do to raw citations or citation indexes.

Nick Byrd

Academic social networks like ResearchGate provide independent measures of "interest" in and number of reads of one's work (as well as more traditional metrics like citation). It also provides users comparisons with others in the department and institution (e.g., in case one wants to show that one has about as much impact as already-tenured people in one's department, college, etc.).

Some evidence suggests that using free, generalist academic social networks like this (as opposed to discipline-specific networks like PhilPeople or paid networks like Academia.edu).

Having one's work shared on (non-academic) social media is also an early predictor of later citations. I discuss this and various other findings and comparisons between platforms like Twitter, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, etc. in Why Make an Academic Social Network Profile (and a Website)?(https://byrdnick.com/archives/11393/personal-websites-academic-social-networks-how-to)

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