Assume a search committee is reading my CV and in the publication section they notice some of my papers are only submitted or claimed to appear in a journal (or accepted for publication in a journal). Sometimes the journal which has accepted the paper for publication lists the title of accepted articles before actually publishing them, but in the rest of cases there is no evidence to prove that the referee process of the paper is over and the journal has accepted the paper for publication. Also assume preprints of my papers are available in ArXiv. So, my questions are:

  1. How a search committee interprets and evaluates those papers which are just submitted or are claimed to appear?

  2. Does a search committee consider these types of publications less valuable than the published ones (assuming the same quality)?

  3. Does a search committee refer to my preprints in ArXiv to evaluate my submitted or accepted papers?

  • 4
    I think it is quite simple: anything that has not passed peer review ("submitted"/"in review") means essentially nothing (note: this is in biology where there are virtually no technical reports or non-refereed manuscripts). Anything else indicating that the paper has passed peer-review ("accepted"/"in press") is essentially equivalent to a published paper.
    – Bitwise
    Sep 26 '13 at 22:28

It's a tiered system:

  1. Peer-reviewed published articles. Published means published in any form, so it includes papers in all states published online on the journal's website, including “in print”, “ASAP papers”, “just accepted papers”, etc.

    That's top notch: it demonstrates your ability to perform research, write it up and publish it. Those are key requirements for the job.

    1b. Peer-reviewed accepted papers. All search committees I know will assume good faith, and accepted papers not yet published (thus without proof) are considered as good as published papers. If you want to (and the application format allows for it), you can actually join a copy of the manuscript (not as proof, but for committee members who may want to read your paper to judge its quality).

  2. Submitted papers, non peer-reviewed papers. This has some value, as an indication of your recent activity. It is especially useful to the committee if you have few papers (junior researcher) or have not published much recently (so that it is clear you are still active). Again, you may want to join manuscript(s) to your application, or give a link to arXiv if you deposited it there.

  3. In preparation, in writing, … There is no clear standard on threshold for what is a paper “in preparation”, so these are usually worthless on a CV. The only exception is if you have very very few (or no) published papers: applying for a PhD position, or early application for post-doc position, with 1 or 2 published papers. Otherwise, my advice is simply not to mention manuscripts you have not finished writing.

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    The other case I can think of for including work that's in preparation is if it would be your first contribution to a field relevant to the job for which the CV is tailored - include it as a discussion starter. Otherwise don't mention it.
    – Chris H
    Sep 26 '13 at 13:01
  • 1
    "accepted papers not yet published (thus without proof)" - the bracketed part is not even necessarily true. Acceptance of papers can be known months ahead of publication, e.g. for conference papers, or for journal papers with a public review process, etc. Nov 3 '17 at 12:03

First you need to distinguish between publications that have passed the review process (accepted, in press) with those who have not (in prep, in review etc.). The first group are just as published as those that are printed and should/could be listed among the published. The others have not received the accept decision and despite their quality are not yet officially approved by peers and journals. Hence they are equated with manuscripts.

You can divide your manuscripts and papers in as many categories you like in the CV but the bottom line is that those that are not through the peers review will not be counted as highly since no-one yet knows of their deemed quality. But, that said, manuscripts (of all forms) indicates activity so they are not a complete loss in the CV. Unfortunately people have very wide views on what can be included. One person stated that a manuscript existed if it had a title, an abstract, some text and some references. With experiences like that it is perhaps not difficult to imagine that a list of manuscripts in different stages may not count for much other than an indication of activity (no matter the reality).

As for manuscripts in public archives, there will be a middle ground. They obviously exist but have not been peer reviewed. An evaluator should be able to check its quality fairly easily, even if they are not necessarily an expert on the topic. It is also doubtful reviewers search for papers on their own, commonly what they receive to review is what they look at. So the value of such papers is less clear but I would definitely set up a separate category for these sorts of papers in the CV between published peer reviewed and unpublished manuscripts.

  • 1
    Indeed—papers that are accepted but not yet in print count as publications as far as most funding agencies and other organizations are concerned. You just need to provide the documentation that the paper has been accepted as evidence.
    – aeismail
    Sep 26 '13 at 7:32
  • @aeismail for the upcoming UK REF only "in print" papers count, but I agree that in most cases "in press" is good enough.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 26 '13 at 10:53
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    I overall agree with your answer, in particular as it describes quite exactly what I see in hiring committees. However, I cannot help notice that "those that are not through the peers review will not be counted as highly since no-one yet knows of their deemed quality" is symptomatic of the way the evaluation is conducted: we rely more easily on the opinion of an 'usually) unknown editor, based on a unknown report of an unknown referee, rather than on our own judgment. Sep 26 '13 at 17:28

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