A certain fraction of personal websites of researchers has a hint along the lines of "CV available on request." I always found that a bit odd. Are there any situations where a researcher would

  1. Actively ask another researcher for their CV; and
  2. Would be more inclined to do so because they have such a hint on their website?
  • 9
    I always figured it was a polite way of saying "I don't want to bother putting up my CV now since I will never update it" - lots of professor's pages are not updated regularly, if at all.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:00
  • 1
    @JonCuster No reason not to put it online, just date it.
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:09
  • 11
    Or a way to tailor the CV before sending, based on who's asking.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:13
  • 6
    Another possibility is that the website was made by some admin person (often trying to make all the pages for a department look the same), and the professor didn't supply a current CV and ignored the emails requesting it...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:22

5 Answers 5


Academic CVs can get quite long, listing conferences presented at, committees served on, etc. It's easy to see that some people would feel that the whole world doesn't need such a detailed record of their life.

  1. Actively ask another researcher for their CV,

I think it's more likely a non-academic would need this sort of thing. Here are some ideas why you might need someone's CV:

  • A journalist or university PR person reporting on their work
  • Preparing a biography (e.g. a conference introduction)

Or, as an academic, you might really like someone's work, and want a quick way to find all their papers. Google Scholar isn't perfect, especially when people don't curate it. Personally, I wouldn't email for a CV in that case, but someone else might.

Or perhaps they are open to being recruited by another lab or department or company, but want to know when someone is interested, rather than not knowing. Is this effective or a good idea? I have no idea.

  • I'm accepting this answer because it includes the greatest number of possible reasons. All answers (including a now-deleted one which refers to a possible request by the department head) have some merit. While I'm still not convinced that it's a particular effective thing to do, I now see that there might be some justification for doing it. Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 12:22
  • I would be surprised if a university trying to hire someone would require a CV before having reached a point where they would contact people anyway. After all, active hirings are not based on the data only found in the CV.
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 18:14
  • @user151413 Well, I didn't say anything about "require," I was envisioning someone seeing a talk or paper and thinking "wow this person would be a great fit for [this open position in] my group, let me see if this is what they usually work on, or something one-off." Maybe my language was misleading, I wouldn't think of "universities" as hiring someone, but groups within it. Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 19:00
  • Or same thing with a search cmte, maybe they want to recruit someone, but want to look up how long they've been with University X (i.e. did they just start, do they have tenure). Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 19:01

Doing this does convey useful information: it signals that the individual has made a conscious decision not to post their CV online. If you come across this statement when looking for someone's CV you know not to waste more time searching. I think this is the real reason people do it, rather than any concern that people might otherwise not think to send an email.

  • 2
    That's the only answer where I feel it makes sense. Basically you are saying this should be read as "CV only available upon request.".
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 13:33
  • @user151413 The reason this answer is incoherent is that it is not unusual for a third party website to host someone's CV without their permission. It's useless to tell people not to search for a CV. Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:23
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    @AnonymousPhysicist "Incorrect" I could accept. "Incoherent"? Come on.
    – avid
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:36

Short answer: privacy.

When you're not looking for new opportunities, why should you expose your life to everyone who visits your website? Of course there are differnt views at that. Making the CV available on request is one of them.

In addition, it may not only be a concern about actual visitors, but an option to stop all kinds of bots from indexing your CV.

  • 1
    This explains why one would not put a CV on their website, but it doesn't answer my actual question of why one would point that out explicitly. Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 15:43

It's conceivable, e.g. if you are a headhunter or someone who isn't an expert in the field but is looking for someone who is (for example, a publisher looking for someone to start a new journal; a journalist looking for someone to interview).

That said, the number of hits one gets for just having a CV on one's website is likely to be much larger than the number of requests for the CV (i.e. most people don't request it even if they need it).


No, I don't think so.

(What else is there to say?)

  • 1
    I could of course add why I don't consider some of the arguments in the other answers valid. But given that I answered first, this seems odd.
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 19, 2020 at 19:28
  • 1
    @cag51 Now at least in terms of votes, the edit does not seem particularly favorable ...
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 13:32
  • 2
    @cag51 This is an excellent example of a high quality answer that did not need clarification. The flags should be declined. It's short answer bias again. Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 8:49
  • 1
    I'm surprised this has proven so controversial. The edit just changed "I don't think so" to "I don't think X is a good idea."
    – cag51
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 8:52
  • 1
    @cag51 Well, it was controversial before the edit as well, it was at +4/-3, I believe.
    – user151413
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:00

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