Graduate students and publication

Graduate students and publication: “There are interesting discussions going on at Leiter Reports about if, when, and where graduate students should publish and, on a related note, which philosophy journals are “responsible.” (There’s more on the latter issue here.) In English studies, at least, there are all sorts of fantasies about what the “typical” aspiring junior faculty member’s CV looks like. Thirty articles! A book contract with Yale University Press! Her very own fan following, complete with newsletter! (Er, you’re confusing AJFM with Judith Butler.–Ed.) From both my own experience on search committees and what I’ve gathered from friends at other schools, these fantasies (or more moderate versions thereof) have little to do with what actually shows up in the search pool. Book contracts? Almost never, unless AJFM has been holding down a visiting professorship somewhere. Book reviews? Perhaps a couple, more if–once again–AJFM is not fresh out of the graduate school oven. Conference presentations? Often plentiful, but I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that they’re often too plentiful, especially if they haven’t been revised into something more substantial. (A former professor of mine once suggested that it’s a good idea to keep a ratio of one article for every three or four conference papers; otherwise, it looks like you’re just scattering ideas around like rice at a wedding.) Encyclopedia or other reference entries? Usually one or so. Articles? At least one, maybe two, rarely three–again, more for someone who has been teaching for a bit.

That being said, the ugly truth of the matter is that there is no agreed-on standard for “how much is enough.” People can get hired at Research I campuses with no publications whatsoever, but get tossed out of a “lesser” school’s search pool for precisely that reason. A campus with a 5-5 teaching load may look askance at someone who has already knocked out four articles, while one with a 3-3 may be pleased. Publishing a seminar paper that’s out of your field may earn your brownie points over here, but eliminate you over there. Nevertheless, most search committees don’t expect or even want a graduate student who has already been responsible for the death of several trees, especially if said graduate student has published in journals with poor or non-existent reputations.

Now, “should graduate students be publishing?” is an entirely different question altogether. In an ideal world, my answer, in fact, would be “not until they’re near the end of their dissertation research.” (Before you ask: no, I didn’t publish anything as a graduate student, although I did attend a couple of conferences.) This isn’t an ideal world, unfortunately, and efforts to alter the current state of affairs don’t seem to be catching fire.”

(Via The Little Professor.)


i am wholy against this strategic approach and consideration. look, either you have it… or you don’t…, go for it if you do, don’t if you don’t. what will matter in then end is whether you are actually who you are aspiring to be or not…. that will either get you published or not, likewise a job or not. there is nothing out there that will get you ahead or behind of the game other than your own work and that really probably matters quite a bit less than you think it does. everything else is already set in other people’s minds…… or so i’d estimate.