Addressing peer-review bottlenecks in job apps?




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I am a postdoc on the job market and I only have minor publications on my CV. I currently have three publications under review; one of this paper has been reviewed for a year at a highly-regarded journal in my main AOS and another is stuck in a third R&R round since May. The difficulty for finding reviewers may be explained by the fact that I use an unusual empirically-informed methodology in philosophy.

Would it be a good idea to address the impact of the reviewing bottleneck on my research in my job documents? And if so, how? Instead of directly addressing this situation in my cover letter, a way to hint at this situation could be to add on my CV and/or research statement the dates since my papers have been under review or through R&R. Or, would it be better to have my letter writers addressing this situation in their letters?

These are good questions, but although I could be wrong, I unfortunately suspect that addressing these issues in job-market materials (either in a cover letter or letters of recommendation) is unlikely to help very much. From a hiring perspective, search committees have incentives to hire people who publish enough–and publish quickly enough–to get tenure. They also typically have hundreds of candidates, many of whom have robust publishing records, and who they may favor for that reason alone.

Fortunately, I think, all is not lost. Search committees, at least in my experience, also care a great deal about the nature and quality of a person’s work and will sometimes hire someone with few publications because their research is particularly unique and exciting. My department hired someone like that a few years back–someone whose research was so different than everyone else in our pile that we just had to interview her, and she knocked our socks off and we ended up hiring her.

So, I think, if you do cool empirically-informed work, roll with that, make sure your materials are killer, and hope for the best. I would just add that, during my time on the market, I took great care to send work to journals with reputations for good turnaround times for precisely this reason. I often didn’t send things to the some of very best journals because I simply didn’t have the luxury to sit around waiting for 6-12 months. I needed publications, and fast–and even though I ended up publishing in some lower-ranked journals as a result, it worked out and I got jobs. So, I would suggest that the OP consider a similar approach, if not for all of their work, then at least for some of it, so that they can add some lines to their publication list.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Do you think there would be any value in the OP addressing the bottleneck issue in their materials? Might it help for their letter-writers to at least mention that a paper has been in an R&R at a good journal for a while, or not?  

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More



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