I'm a PhD student. Just before starting my PhD I wrote up an expository paper about the basics my domain of study, in a peer-reviewed journal for graduate students, with almost no new results (the only new result is from my master's degree thesis, which is not published anywhere, and it's not groundbreaking by any means). It recently got accepted and published.

Should I list such a paper in my CV? If so, where should I put it: in the "Publications" sections (hoping that the name of the journal makes clear what kind of paper this is), or somewhere else?

If it makes any difference, this is my first and only "publication" so far (I'm in pure math, I have preprints but the review process is insanely long). On the one hand I feel like I should list it because I think I should list everything on my CV and omitting something is akin to lying by omission; but at the same time I don't want to make it seem like I'm "padding" my CV.

  • Does this mean that you are not listing those preprints on your CV? Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 13:16
  • @TobiasKildetoft No, I'm listing them of course (they represent almost the entirety of my research output so far...). But I'm wondering if I should list this expository paper alongside them.
    – user66480
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 13:20
  • Not being in your field, I will not answer conclusively, but if you still find it to be of sufficient quality, I would definitely list it (just not in the same section as the preprints). For comparison, I have a section listing teaching materials developed (this would not quite make sense under such a heading, but it might be close depending on the precise nature of the work). Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 13:22
  • @TobiasKildetoft You actually are in my field... :)
    – user66480
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 13:32
  • 1
    Then I disagree with the statement that only journal publications count. Preprints count as well (I do not even separate them from those papers that have already been published in journals on my CV). Sure, being published in a journal will give the publication more weight (and mean that even someone who has not read it will be able to get an idea of the strength of it), but hiring committees are aware that most papers will be preprints for applicants fresh out of their PhD. Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


At this stage of your academic career, I would go ahead and include the article on your CV. You are a student, and publication in a student journal is a meaningful accomplishment, even if publication in a research journal would be a significantly greater one. I see CVs from students with masters degrees in applied math that sometimes have these kinds of things listed, and I don't think anyone has a problem with their appearance. And you can always get feedback from the faculty in your current program, as to whether they would like to see something like that on a student's CV.

If you think the name of the journal will make its nature clear to anyone viewing your CV, then that will probably be fine; however, if you have any doubts (and you definitely do not want to give anyone the impression that you are attempting to be misleading on your CV), you may want to include a bracketed note "[student journal]" just to be clear.

Later, you may want to drop this item from your CV. When you have a doctorate and have published multiple articles in research-level journals, people may wonder why you have included something so minor among your accomplishments. But you are not to that stage yet, so including it at present is probably fine.


I'm in pure math like you. I suggest listing your preprints under the heading "Preprints", and the "low-level expository work", if you really feel it's important to mention it, under a heading such as "Expository writing" or "Expository". I wouldn't use words such as "publication" or "peer-reviewed" (even if they are technically correct) in connection with such a work, since I do feel that it may create an unpleasant impression of CV-padding. Your preprints, even though they are not yet publications, sound like real research articles that add substantially more value to your CV regardless of their acceptance status, so bragging about a publication in a student journal (I've never had a favorable view of such journals myself, but maybe that's just me) sounds incongruous to me.

Another option you may want to consider is to not mention the expository work at all. I disagree with your view that omitting it is akin to lying.

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