How Many Papers per Year Should a Postdoctoral Fellow Publish?
Among the many benefits of becoming a postdoctoral fellow at a university or laboratory is the opportunity to conduct valuable research and publish significant findings. Both sides of this opportunity are vital to laying the groundwork for a successful academic or scientific career. While the research is certainly primary, the publications serve as the formal record of that research and they, not the work done in the library or lab, are what hiring committees and funding agencies can see and assess. A researcher may be considered unproductive if he or she achieves no publications during a period of postdoctoral work, and this can be the case even if the research is incredibly time consuming and cutting edge. On the other hand, a postdoc who submits or presents a paper every few months might be accused of focussing on less than substantial research topics or of salami slicing the work too thinly to mount up extra publications. What, then, is the perfect balance? How many papers should a postdoctoral researcher aim to publish each year to prove competitive in a challenging job and grant market?
The answer depends, of course, on several factors, such as a postdoctoral fellow’s field of study and area of specialisation, the length of the postdoc research period, the availability of equipment and resources, the possibility of collaboration, the amount of technical and other assistance provided, and the kind of publications expected. In some fields, ten, fifteen or even more publications might be needed each year to stand out as exceptional, though most if not all of those are likely to be co-authored; in others, a single publication a year is impressive. In more than one research area an average of about three peer-reviewed publications per year is recommended for postdoctoral fellows aiming to become tenure-track assistant professors. The actual productivity patterns of early-career scholars suggest that one publication a year is far more realistic, with many postdocs achieving only half that number. The best approach for determining what will work best for you and your situation is to learn all you can about exactly what kind of publication patterns are expected of successful postdocs in your field and at your institution.
More generally, the best advice is to try to publish as many papers as possible because early publication tends to be (and to be understood as) a reliable indicator of future productivity and influence in academic and scientific careers. The activities of writing and publishing provide hands-on training for more writing and publishing, and a long publication list usually looks very good to hiring committees and funding agencies. Circumstances remain central, however. It may prove, for instance, extremely difficult to conduct the necessary research, produce a single paper and have it accepted for publication before a one-year postdoc is over, whereas it may be quite feasible and even ordinary to publish seven papers in a seven-year position. In scientific fields where researchers work in teams with a variety of specialists, assistants and co-authors, many papers or conference presentations a year might be expected from postdoctoral fellows, whereas a single published book at the end of a three-year postdoc may be outstanding for a literary scholar working and writing alone.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders and editors are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and achieve publication.
Our scientific editing services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript editing services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical editing services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.