2

Of course, the bread-and-butter of an academic CV are degrees and publications, and citation index is a primary means of judging the value of said publications, but it's also common for academics to give out acknowledgements to people who contributed to a paper, but not in a way deserving of a citation or authorship.

Is a history of being thanked in acknowledgements worth putting on one's CV or otherwise touting in the context of academic faculty appointments?

I can come up with arguments both ways. On the one hand, an acknowledgement without a citation or authorship implies that one's contribution was non-academic in nature or, if academic, was too minor to merit being cited or granted author status, but on the other hand, an acknowledgement could be seen as demonstrating so-called "soft skills". For example, one might claim,

My biochemistry citation index speaks for itself, but also see that Dr. Jones acknowledged me for "faithful emotional support while [he] was undergoing cancer treatment while also teaching a heavy load", and Dr. Smith acknowledged me for "standing firm in support of the department's goals and [her] projects in particular as major funding cuts rocked through the university in 2018 and 2019". I have thus demonstrated excellent hard academic skills as well as organizational and interpersonal soft skills, and that is why I am the best candidate for department chair!

3
  • 4
    I would suggest not. That is for Dr. Smith to say in a letter.
    – Buffy
    Mar 20, 2020 at 19:13
  • 2
    It's worth putting in a CV everything that a selection committee would positively consider. In my personal experience, I've never seen any committee consider acknowledgements.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Mar 20, 2020 at 19:13
  • 1
    At best it shows you don’t have much to put on your CV, which probably isn’t what you want to show. So, there are better uses of that space.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 20, 2020 at 20:04

2 Answers 2

4

No. We don’t hire people to be our friends or to offer us emotional support, and I don’t even understand what “standing firm in support of the department’s goals” means. We hire them to teach, do research, and do other more or less well defined tasks, none of which are evidenced in any meaningful way by being mentioned in the acknowledgements to someone’s paper.

You can be the world’s most amazing, virtuous, supportive person, and that’s great, but no one will hire you for an academic job for those qualities. For your CV, focus on quantitative, measurable achievements that hiring institutions actually care about.

2
  • Also, what do two acknowledgments really say? What statistical inferences can be drawn from just two points? Mar 20, 2020 at 23:25
  • Hm. While you are right, I think this is also quite sad. In my alma mater, tgere were great reseaechers. But they never worked together (concerning teaching) or supported each other. For students, this was really bad.
    – user111388
    Mar 21, 2020 at 9:53
2

Honestly, I think mentioning the first acknowledgement would be seen as a negative by a selection committee (i.e. not even just neutral). You would presumably have provided emotional support to Dr. Jones while he was undergoing cancer treatment because e.g. (i) you're a decent human being, and/or (ii) you care about Dr. Jones' wellbeing. Trying to use that as a CV point later would be extremely tacky and would suggest to people that you were only being nice to him so you could tell everyone about it later. Few people are likely to want to hire someone who would use their friend's (or colleague's) illness for personal gain.

TL;DR: Basically, hell no, in as far as the question relates to whether or not you should mention an acknowledgement like that one in your CV. For acknowledgements more generally, also no, because they're too trivial to mention - people will just assume you have nothing better to tell them about.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .