There are six types of higher educational institutions in the US according to this source

  1. Doctoral Universities (R1, R2, D/PU)
  2. Master's Colleges and Universities (M1, M2, M3)
  3. Baccalaureate Colleges (Arts & Sciences Focus, Diverse Fields)
  4. Baccalaureate/Associate's Colleges
  5. Associate's Colleges
  6. Special Focus Institutions (2 years, 4 years)
  7. Tribal Colleges

I am interested in knowing the general consensus, if any, of the recruitment criteria, based on the number of SCI papers published, of assistant professors among the top two types of institutes: Doctoral and masters.

I used to believe that recruitment, in general, doesn't depend on the number of SCI journals published and depends on experience(in years), projects handled, quality of papers published (if any), and quality of the PhD thesis, etc., I use to think that the quality of paper(s) matters more to the recruitment process compared to the number of papers. But I recently read reasons for rejection, citing that applicants have less than 4 SCI journals. You can check the advertisement and results. There can be many examples like this. So, I am wondering whether the same with the top two types of institutes in the US.

Are there any such restrictions in the top two types of universities in the US? Do the top two types of universities generally reject the applicants citing the lack of such a minimum/ threshold number of SCI papers?

Those unaware of SCI/SCIE standards can read from here.

  • 2
    Note that there is overlap between the categories. And some are hard to classify. The Ivys are all private research universities, for example.
    – Buffy
    Jul 13, 2022 at 10:30
  • 2
    @Buffy - well, except for the NY state funded parts of Cornell...
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:31
  • 1
    @JonCuster, yes the exception that proves the rule. Some of my neighbors are Cornell ag school graduates even. Sorry to forget them.
    – Buffy
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:45
  • 2
    Your "source" is terrible. Jul 14, 2022 at 1:45
  • 3
    @hanugm carnegieclassifications.acenet.edu/classification_descriptions/… is a reliable source. However, it's pointless to categorize universities in the US because there is no central authority that controls the universities. Jul 14, 2022 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


I doubt that in the US you will find any such "algorithmic" limitations. Every university is different. Every department is different. Every candidate is different. Every paper is different. Mere counts of publications capture very little.

While I can't rule it out universally, it is an uncommon practice here. (See below for the case of zero publications.)

A small number of good math papers with an indication of future productive activity may be enough, for example. And you can't compare math with experimental physics on numbers of papers.

Every candidate gets a thorough peer review of their record, not an administrative check list. Zero papers is probably a non-starter in many fields, of course, but not necessarily in all. Work in progress with high potential can count for something in a few cases. So can informal "sponsorship" by a senior professor who sees potential in a candidate.

And, of course, any new assistant professor will be reevaluated, perhaps a few times, before tenure is granted.

  • I doubt any US university would give so explicit of a reason for rejection in the first place, even if the first pass at applications had some algorithmic component (often HR screening against posted job requirements). Only leads to arguments that get nowhere.
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 13, 2022 at 15:01
  • @JonCuster ... Agreed. The linked example in the OP is an institute in India, established by the government of India. As such it may have government-mandated transparency requirements that make such an algorithmic rejection system more likely.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 14, 2022 at 14:05

Universities in the US and most other western countries do not care at all if your publications have been indexed by SCI or any other indexes. In many cases, they will not have heard of those indexes.

No thresholds are used in faculty hiring at universities in the US. The number of publications is considered in the context of the reputations of the particular journals and the number of citations.

Get accurate information by viewing the public CVs of people who have the jobs you want.

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