I am an industry based researcher. I research and write policies mostly relating to workplace issues such as codes and manuals. I have just completed my PhD in a related field.

On my CV, I can include about 10 years of industry research (plus my qualification as above). As far as I know, industry research is not considered in the same light as peer-reviewed articles.

Question: How do I make industry research a selling point in my CV (in the academic world)?

Note: I have no peer-reviewed articles to my credit and there is no possibility of publishing my industry based research outcomes in the wider sense.

  • Would your Ph.D lead to peer-reviewed publications ?
    – Suresh
    Mar 4 '13 at 0:36
  • 3
    I have just completed my PhD....I have no peer-reviewed articles — Wait. What? Is that normal in your field?
    – JeffE
    Mar 4 '13 at 5:47
  • 2
    most students have at least one peer-reviewed paper before admission to PhD – This is definitely not true; some do, but not most, even in the strongest departments.
    – JeffE
    Mar 4 '13 at 12:47
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    You didn't answer @JeffE's question which I think is important to answer this question. In Computer Science, I have seen many seminal papers come from the industry.
    – seteropere
    Mar 4 '13 at 18:01
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    @JaveerBaker yes, it is hard to publish research articles in this field. IMO, you need to convince the committee that your works had research aspect. I mean you've used research methods to analyze the system to write policies.
    – Googlebot
    Mar 7 '13 at 2:18

Emphasize strengths that mirror what would be expected for a 10-year Academic career:

  • No peer-reviewed publications? List instead all the internal white papers you've written.

  • Mention any academic collaborations when describing roles. (No collaborations? List internal cross-departmental collaborations.)

  • List trainees/interns you've mentored.

  • List any important talks/presentations you've given related to your research. It won't be the same, as the level of discourse when talking to other researchers is different than when talking to senior managers, but it does demonstrate presentation experience.

  • Get very strong letters of recommendation attesting to your strength as a researcher, communicator, and mentor.

  • This makes so much sense and is good practical advice. Mar 7 '13 at 22:40

The relevant issue is how to make your research meaningful to your application. Since this would typically not get much attention in a CV, the best place to do this will be either in your cover letter or in the introduction to your research statement.

If your industrial research has informed your choice of problems to study as an academic, or has expanded your skill set, this is information you should relate to the committee. However, if the work is completely unrelated, you may have a hard time convincing a committee that it's worth considering as related experience (beyond the traditional justification of industrial experience in and of itself).


I think there might be some confusion. If you write policies, codes, and manuals, that most likely does not qualify as (scientific) research as the term is generally understood by the research community (or the academic community). In our context, (scientific) research generally refers to systematic investigation that leads to new knowledge. The end result of (scientific) research is some new knowledge that was not previously known before.

I know that in other contexts, people sometimes use the word "research" in a different way. For instance, they might talk about "researching an issue", by which they mean, go find newspaper articles, scientific papers, policy briefs, etc. on the topic and read them to get up to speed on the topic as quickly as possible. That's a fine meaning of the term "research", but it's not research as the academic or research community mean it. That kind of activity generally is not a replacement for what academics call (scientific) research.

(Scientific) research is also usually published in a peer-reviewed conference or journal. Academics may give credit only to published work. There are good reasons for this. For one thing, academics value discovering new knowledge and making it available to humankind. If you haven't published, you haven't advanced that agenda. For that reason, if researcher X discovers something new but doesn't publish, and then a year later researcher Y discovers the new thing and publishes, we usually award credit ("priority") to researcher Y, because researcher Y published. Also, peer-reviewed publications are one of the ways that we evaluate the quality of work. Typically, folks on a search committee are not expert in your area and may find it difficult to directly evaluate the quality of your work. If it has been published in a peer-reviewed conference/journal, that speaks to its quality; and the more selective the conference/journal, the more of a testament to quality it is. If your work hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed forum, it's harder to know whether it's any good (and there may even be a suspicion that it wasn't published in a peer-reviewed forum because it wasn't good enough or would not have been able to survive peer review). So, publications matter for hiring. I'm not saying that unpublished work is never taken into account, but it's a much higher hurdle if none of the work has been published, and you need to be honest with yourself about the situation.

I noticed that you asked a similar question about a month and a half ago (Does my work in industry carry any weight in academia?). You got similar answers, and some very good advice, at the time. Perhaps it'd be worth starting by reviewing the answers you go to the earlier question, and then editing your question to provide more context and detail, taking into account what you've read there.

Also, you haven't given us much to work with: for instance, you haven't told us what field you are working in; you haven't told us why your work wasn't published and cannot be published in a peer-reviewed forum; you haven't told us what aspects of the industry research you think might be relevant to your application or what options for how to include it in your CV you have considered; you haven't told us what was the work you did in industry, or what the novel scientific contributions were, or what its impact on industry was. The less information we have, the less likely it is that we can provide useful advice.


Industry research experience, like almost all research experience, only counts if there is a tangible outcome (e.g., grant income, patents, or peer-review publications). In the absence of a tangible outcome, the research experience (industry or otherwise) and contact (industry or otherwise) are nice, but not worth very much. If you want to make you past experience a selling point, you need to create some tangible outcomes. If the experience is valuable in an academic setting, then 10 years of experience should allow you go generate a tangible outcome quickly. Maybe one of your industry contacts will fund a study or provide you with unique data that could be used in a peer-reviewed publication.

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