My question is related to this one, but is more specific (and has no answer there).
I am a postdoc in mathematics, applying for tenure-track jobs for the first time. Some departments ask me to indicate my 3 best works.
To explain the motivation for my question below, here's my publication record so far:
- Paper in a top general math journal with a senior coauthor (from my PhD thesis). Cited many times.
- Recent preprint with senior coauthors of a strong result, with a senior coauthor.
- Paper in a top general math journal I wrote as a postdoc, singly authored.
- Paper in a much less prestigious journal I wrote during my PhD, singly authored - this paper was rejected from several top journals - but a "famous" top mathematician read it carefully, talked to me about it, and said that is at the level of the top journals in maths.
- 2 papers from my PhD thesis, in subfield specific-journals, that happen to have relatively high impact factors, but in reality are very far from the top journals.
Papers 1,3,4,5 are in one subfield of math, while 2 is about something rather different.
I decided to include the preprint (2) in my list of 3 best papers because it is recent, and it is my only paper in this "hot" subfield.
While I would appreciate any advice on my particular situation, here's a more general question which may apply in different cases:
Should I include paper (4) among my 3 best works? The advantage: It is a way to say: "Clearly you'll notice that (1) and (3) are great, because they are in top journals, so let me tell you that (4) is also great, and you can ask Prof. X". The disadvatage: Including (4) will force me to drop one of (1) and (3), and so maybe the hiring committee will miss the fact that I have 2 papers in top journals? And maybe it will be like saying: "I actually got lucky with the paper I didn't include, it's not one of my best works".