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I am applying for a job (a North American TT job in mathematics) with a requirement of a 1-page research statement. There is no clear direction whether the references are counted toward the limit.

Since the limit is so tight, I am inclined to do what is suggested in an answer to a previous question on page limits in a grant application: to use a feature of word-processing software (or in my case PDF viewers) displays pop-ups with bibliography information.

Obviously, that doesn't work if the hiring committee prints my submission, but there is no indication whether that will be the case. I don't know whether their seeing that there are references invisible due to the technology they're using hurts my application, either.

Of the following, what is the best I can do?

  • Assume that the page count does not apply to the references, and produce a research statement with a one-page body and extra pages for references
  • Use PDF annotations for the bibliography in a 1-page research statement
  • Work hard to produce a one-page research statement with printed bibliography (Ideally I'd like to avoid this)
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  • #1 seems the most likely to me, but there's a natural option #4: contact the search committee chair and ask for clarification. Dec 25, 2023 at 1:33

2 Answers 2

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I would just make the "citations" as brief as possible without detail: "Following the work of Fluffy and Buffy [1992] I've shown that optimization of ... This work continues.".

End the statement with "Full citations provided on request". If the readers are familiar with the authors named then all is well. If they need more they can ask. Rather than the authors, you could substitute the title of a paper.

Also, it might be enough to specify a subfield or even that you work in a subfield of a specific subfield.

Spend the words on that page to detail your own work, rather than that of others, briefly saying that it is extensions of earlier work so that plagiarism doesn't become an issue.

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One-page limits are there to make life easier for the people reading applications and prevent them from feeling compelled to read longer applications, as well as setting a clear guideline for applicants so there is not a tension between people who try to be kind to the readers by writing short and people who try to demonstrate the deepest research statement by writing long.

I would recommend against trying to circumvent this sort of limit in any way. I don't think a research statement should be heavy on references; use them where necessary and stick to one page.

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