In preparing my academic vita for applications to PhD programs, I came across this question: Since I have some papers published in less known journals, should I list them or not to list them?

Will listing them instead hurt my applications?

  • Try asking on The Workplace as well
    – Ooker
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 15:40
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    @Ooker To my knowledge, posting same questions simultaneously on different SE sites is against the site's policies.
    – enthu
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:20
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    But the answerers in each site is standing on the different point of view. I think we should listen to both.
    – Ooker
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:27
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    @Ooker - This is an academic question, as it relates to applications to PhD programs. This is the appropriate site for such a question. If the question related to applying to industry positions, you would be correct, but that would be a different question with a different answer.
    – eykanal
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:58
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    Remember that academic CV is a lot different from industry CV. In academia, CVs of 4 or more pages are not uncommon. In industry, these end in the trash immediately.
    – yo'
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 16:23

6 Answers 6


PhD admission committees look for evidence of your ability to successfully complete the PhD program. Published papers can be a big hint that the answer is "yes".

Unless it can be argued that the journal is a predatory one, I would suggest mentioning the published paper in your application if you think that the paper is of good quality. Even when the journal is not so well known (but has good standards), it shows that you can perform the type of work expected from you if they choose to accept you.


Here is a well-known list of predatory journals.

As DCTLib says, you probably shouldn't publicize publications to any of these. For any others, go ahead! A less reputable journal paper is better than no journal paper. Once you have dozens of publications, you can start thinking of filtering out less reputable stuff.

Note: I would have added this as a comment to the previous answer, but don't have the reputation.

  • I think this works OK as a stand-alone answer. Another option would have been to just edit @DCTLib's answer to include the extra information. Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 15:42

Unless you have published in predatory or other journals with some suspicious reputation, all publications count positively. The more you demonstrate your productivity the stronger your application. How much each publication counts will depend on other factors, like the order of authorship (being first or middle; note that depending on the field ordering may be irrelevant) or how many times the publication has been cited.

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    Note that, in some fields (e.g., pure mathematics and theoretical computer science), author lists are ordered alphabetically. If your publications are in such a field but you're applying for a PhD in some other field, it might be worth explicitly mentioning that the author lists on your cv are alphabetical. Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 15:40
  • Ah, good point @DavidRicherby. Now that you mentioned that, I have a colleague that was before in theoretical physics and there too ordering is alphabetical.
    – ddiez
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 15:43
  • I think the answers to my question from the other side of the table suggest that even publications in predatory journals isn't a problem.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 18:04

I asked this same question from the other side of the table: Value of light-to-none peer reviewed pay-to-publish articles when I had a student apply to do a Phd with me who had three articles published in essentially predatory journals (maybe a hair better). My concern was that the papers indicate a student whose potential goals are not well aligned with the requirements of many competitive PhD programs. The answers convinced me that that is not a big issue. I would suggest including them and mentioning in your cover letter/statement of purpose that you understand the differences between high and low quality publishers. I think that would help to convince potential supervisors to evaluate the publications based on the quality of the research and not the place of publication.


From a current PhD student:

I would definitely recommend listing them on your CV.

The publication expectations for PhD applicants are relatively low (compared to postdocs, etc), and many PhD applicants don't have a published manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal yet. So having something on your CV that shows you're published, even if in a journal with a 0.1 impact factor (lesser known), will still make you stand out.

Something else to consider - humans are busy. And academicians are super busy. And unless you're applying to a program in the same field as the journal you published in, there's a good chance the people reviewing your application won't even know the quality of the journal on your CV. And they most likely won't look it up. And even if they do, the key is that you've published something. This, in itself, is great.

As I see it, you can only gain from adding these to your CV.

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    As an academic, I'd disagree with the "they probably won't check, they probably won't know" argument as it implies still there is something shameful or problematic about having published in a lower ranked journal. As long as the journal has a genuine peer-review process, having a publication in it is always better than having one less publication. List all of them, and don't buy into this thinking that 'you'll probably get away with it', because there is nothing you need to hope to hide. Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 18:15

If you are just beginning your Academic carrier, list EVERY reputable publication, including popular pubs such as magazines and news stories (be sure non-peer reviewed pubs are marked).

Even after you have several publications, and need to thin your CV, keep a list of all published articles in a longer format CV in case it is needed by a committee of some sort.

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