I have recently applied for a postdoc call with financial support from goverenment not from a mentor for a specific project. In the application from there was a table to write about number of publications. I want to know about the normal range of number of expected papers to be published? In the field of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical physics. The period of postdoc is 3 years.

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    In my opinion the expected number depends on factors like how many collaborations you have, i.e. the expected number of single authored papers is lower than the one for papers with coauthors. Moreover, I also have the impression that the publication culture differs between different areas of pure mathematics.
    – Christian
    Sep 10, 2021 at 7:33
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    Just to check, you’re sure this is asking about papers you propose to write during the postdoc and not hour current papers? I’ve never seen the former, though I suppose it’s possible with the direction administrators are going. Sep 10, 2021 at 10:23
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    I agree with @NoahSnyder ... the application form would ask about papers already written.
    – GEdgar
    Sep 10, 2021 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Even within pure math, a "paper" is a very variable unit of work. I've got one publication which took maybe 5h of my time and was published within 5 months of me starting to work on it; and I've got one where my estimate is that I spend around 1000h over a 10 year period on it. Length-wise, I've got something with 3 pages and something with over 100.

With the disclaimer out of the way, the number that came to my mind when reading your question is approximately 5 papers. That seems to me as the ballpark for how many papers you can actively/reliablishly plan for in a 3 years period without committing to any salami slicing. But a concrete project may have different predictions going along with it.

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