I am wondering what others thought of including a second-authored article being included in an external reviewer file for tenure review in the health sciences. This is my second tenure review, since I transferred institutions, and my tenure did not transfer from my original institution where I was granted tenure.

I can include five articles in my external review application. For one of my main areas of research, my collaborator and I provide equal leadership, so we generally switch between first and second authors. The article from our work that I would like to include has me as the second author, not first. Do others believe that it would be strange for a reviewer to see a second-authors publication included in a file?

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    Is it possible to include a comment in a summary of the articles, which highlights that you made an equal contribution? I certainly wouldn't think that it would be held against you because this one fell into the alternate rotation. But then, I wouldn't even think it would be held against you if you were the Nth author and your student was the primary author. Disclaimer: I'm an industry researcher, not a tenured or tenure-track professor, so I haven't seen this first-hand. Thinking of how this would apply for, say, a fellow application. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:43
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    This all depends on your area. In some areas, author lists are almost exclusively alphabetical. What area do you work in? Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 3:42
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    Thanks for the comments! My work is in the health sciences. We typically do not list authors alphabetically, but by amount of contribution. I am able to send a short (3pg) summary of my work, so I may just put a footnote in there about equal contribution. Thanks for the feedback! Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 12:01
  • I think it would depend. In some experimental fields, if you are at a top school, it would be unusual to have much first author at all (grad students do the work).
    – guest
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 4:40

2 Answers 2


It sounds reasonable to me, especially if explained as you did above.


My view is that, since you actually worked on the paper, it would be a poor choice to omit it. Perhaps your field puts too much emphasis on such things (mine does not), but it is part of your record.

I doubt that anyone would think you were "padding" your cv by including it. And fewer publications rather than more, does you little good.

But if you are limited to five, choose the five that best show your potential. I assume you think that this is one of them or there wouldn't be a question here.

It would be a different story, of course, if you were included as an "author" by gift rather than by contribution. But such overemphasis on order, in my view, works against collaboration and creates a lot of conflict. But that is a problem to solve after you obtain tenure.

But this might also depend on other aspects of the tenure review. If it is done purely on a written dossier, without any interviews, then you really need that dossier as strong as possible. But if candidates are interviewed as well, then you can give an explanation of why you included one paper rather than another and also some background on the work that was done.

Likewise if you have letters as part of the dossier, then perhaps your co-author can have something to say to back up your participation.

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    I don't think she is asking about having it on the CV. She is asking about including it in the external review file/mailing, which is limited to 5 articles.
    – Dawn
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 19:08
  • @Dawn, thanks. I missed reading one word. edited.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 19:16

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