Tricks of the Trade

OK, folks, you are going to flip when I tell you. I almost flipped myself when a colleague from a neighboring university shared this trick with me.

College profs have to fill out reports on their activities in the 3 areas of scholarly production (teaching, research, and service) for every calendar year. There are people who find it very hard to put anything in the Research section. So what do they do to create an impression of an ongoing scholarly activity?

Get this: they take 1-2 articles that they know have no hope in hell of being published anywhere and are not real articles anyway but rather old conference talks. They submit these “articles” to journals on December 31. The “articles” will get rejected, of course, but they will not be rejected before the end of the year. This allows the authors to put these submissions in their yearly reports as evidence of ongoing scholarly productivity.

Obviously, nobody will get the Scholar of the Year award as a result of this practice, but one can wiggle by the personnel committee.

Is this mind-boggling, or what?

4 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade

  1. This cuts no ice at all at George Mason University’s economics department. The only books and articles that count are those actually published by the end-date for the Report. Papers accepted but not published have to wait until they are published.This is an efficient way to proceed. Otherwise, there are all sorts of potential slippages between cup and lip. No quality university or college would take any notice whatsoever of submitted papers. AtGMU the same rule applies for tenure appilcations. Only actually published books and papers are taken into account


    1. Yes, this. In all my universities (former and current), only papers that are published or at least accepted (in press and/or online as Advanced Online Publications) count. “Submitted” is seen as CV padding and not considered in any evaluations.


    2. Also, what an unfair way to make more pointless (if you say they know these papers will be rejected anyway?) work for journal editors and reviewers…


  2. This is sort of off topic but I always find the teaching section the hardest to fill out. The research and service components are concrete and easy for me but I never know what to say for the teaching section beyond the fact that I taught 6 during the academic year. I do include the results of student evals because that’s also concrete. But beyond that, I’m always at a lost. What do I say? I graded papers? I lectured? I led group discussions? What types of things do you include?

    Also, I find these yearly reports demeaning and I envy those who are at institutions that don’t require them.. I would never pad my report in any way–especially not in research–but I understand the impulse. Every time I have to write my yearly report, I feel very angry and insulted. I am an educated professional and should be respected as one and shouldn’t have to be toadying about writing reports justifying my time. Grrr.


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