Publishing After Tenure

Why are some journals offering letters confirming that an article has been accepted for publication? Even at my school, acceptances don’t count, only actual publications.

When I was a first-year tenure-track person, I had a big argument with tenured profs over whether it’s easier to publish after tenure. I thought it was but they laughed me out of the room. And I couldn’t say anything because I didn’t have the experience. Now I do and I can say with authority that it’s definitely easier. Right now, I have publications lined up until 2021. I know for sure that things are coming out every year for the next three years, I know where they are coming out, and it’s all part of a planned-out publication strategy. The unpredictability and stress have gone out of the experience because I now know enough to plan and control the process.

17 thoughts on “Publishing After Tenure”

  1. acceptances don’t count

    Hmm. That’s an interesting difference between disciplines. In my area of science (and all others that I’m familiar with) a paper “counts” as soon as it is formally accepted for publication by the journal.


    1. It’s also helpful for pre-tenure review. There’s a big difference between the candidate who isn’t submitting pieces (or is racking up rejections) and the one who is getting acceptances even if an editorial backlog is delaying publication.


  2. Response #2 to Publishing After Tenure:

    I think it is easier for someone like you or me to publish post-tenure, because of star power. I suspect that getting a paper from either of us enhances the reputation of the journal itself.


  3. Oh my school will count accepted/forthcoming articles with a confirmation letter from the journal for tenure/promotion. Books are more difficult because so much can happen between acceptance and publication. But journals almost always publish their accepteds. So it’s very little risk for the school.


    1. Maybe it’s because you are in English and journals don’t close as much as in foreign languages? I’ve had two journals close on me after acceptance but before publication, so now I don’t trust anything until I hold the separata in my hand.


  4. My school counts accepted articles. I think this is a good thing, too. I’ve heard stories that at some top journals, you might have to wait up to two years to see your article in print. So if top scholars in one’s field think an article is worthy of publication, shouldn’t that count if you’re going up for P & T? (I can understand if Harvard or major research schools insist on articles in print, but for those of us at teaching institutions, where scholarship is important but not a national or international reputation, then acceptances should be counted, I think.)


    1. I’m a bit of a maximalist on this issue. I needed 2 articles to go up for tenure with the Excellent ranking. I went up with 8 (plus 5 pre-TT) and a book. And I think I failed because I wanted 10 and a book.

      I think our profession is not in good shape. And if we are to preserve it, we should be doing so well that we don’t need unpublished articles to squeeze by.

      My dream is to be at a place where everybody thinks like this. Probably a reservation of some sorts. 🙂


      1. “If we are to preserve” the profession…

        Ok, but in terms of preserving the Humanities, I don’t know if research and publications is where this will be accomplished. Most people in the “real world” already don’t respect research in our disciplines. They mock the titles of MLA papers and point out that no one cites most of what we write. Now I may not agree with these criticisms….but the thing is that for too many people, the idea of preserving our profession probably means a 6-6 teaching load and almost no research requirements.


        1. I believe we will end up with two-tier systems where the overwhelming majority will teach 6-6 loads and a tiny minority will teach 2-1 and do research. I’d rather that this model were avoided. And it still can. There is a closing window of opportunity.

          As for the MLA papers, many of the titles are, indeed, so flaky and ridiculous that even I mock. My field is about 98% immune because there are relatively few of us. But English is truly strange sometimes.


          1. At my university, full-time lecturers teach 5-5, and tenured/tenure-track teach 4-4. I have a friend who teaches at a community college, and several years ago, they changed from a 5-5 to a 6-6 teaching load due to financial problems.


  5. I suspect acceptance came to be seen as equivalent to publication because in the 1960’s and 1970’s many journals in mathematics had a backlog of three years or longer. No one would have been tenured if papers had to have appeared to be counted.

    I also suspect that if standards were as high as you propose, many people would find ways to publish worthless drivel to pad their publication list. This already happens some of the time.


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