Is there any such notion of parameter that quantifies the number of journal articles someone has to publish to be a good researcher or to obtain his tenure?

For instance, how many publications per year is considered to be a good performance

  • for a PhD student
  • for a non-tenured university teacher

in computer science?

  • It'll be good if someone from HKUST can comment. I heard that they prescribe a fixed number of journals to go from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 9:57
  • If you are in CS, isn't the norm conferences? Shouldn't it be how many top-tier conference papers you have? Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 9:58
  • In Europe, institutions are currently more interested in the Impact Factor (IF) than in the amount of publications. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 10:07
  • You could also check for the h-Index. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 10:33
  • This depends dramatically on the subfield, even within computer science. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Note: I wrote this to answer the original question, which was less specific.

There's no a general answer to this question, because things change a lot by field.

If you want to have an idea of the extreme variability, you can look at this crazy table which reports the Italian minimum requirements to become tenured associate (II fascia) or full professor (I fascia), divided by field.

The third and the sixth columns of the linked tables report the minimum number of journal papers that should have been published in, respectively, the last ten and five years to be able to apply for the two positions. Then there are the number of citations and the h-index.

For instance, someone wanting to apply for a full professor position in mathematical logic is required to have at least 4 papers in the last 10 years, whereas an experimental particle physicist is required to have at least 164 publications if the average number of coauthors is between 501 and 1200.

  • Is there no notion of quality of the work, as measured for instance by the number of citations or one of the metrics that bibliometricians love to use?
    – user67075
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:33
  • @ZeroTheHero Yes, there is. The fourth column of the tables gives the minimum number of citations and the fifth is the (an) h-index. The minimum values are calculated as the medians (up to a certain year) of the parameters of the associate or full professors belonging to a certain field, at present. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:37
  • thanks! (My Italian is a bit rusty.) Are these "hard" numbers or are they interpreted more as guidelines?
    – user67075
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:41
  • Wow!!!!! I definitely learned something today. Thanks and be well.
    – user67075
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:44
  • @ZeroTheHero Sorry I hit "enter" before finishing. They are hard numbers. The process is better explained in this answer from Federico. If you reach those numbers you can get the abilitazione (qualification). Once you get it, you're not yet associate or full professor until a university hires you in that position, you're just qualified to be. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:47