Tenure qualifications

January 4, 2015

From this OSU document:

Publication expectations*.

25-50 in journals with average impact factors of 3-6 or an H-index of 22 or above. As a general guideline 25 or more peer reviewed publications since appointment as an assistant professor at OSU.

I can see how some people in roughly my fields of interest could hit this. It is not, however, a default expectation that everyone deserving of tenure could clear this bar. Twenty five papers in six years is a lot. JIF 3-6 journals do not just hand out acceptance like tic tacs, no matter what the GlamourHounda might assume.


PI or multiple-PD/PI on 1 funded R01 (or equivalent) that has been renewed or the combination of a current or prior R01 plus either a) a second R01 or b) an additional funded national grant; or c) patents generating licensing income.

R01 acquired and renewed in first 6 years? Maybe for the exceptionally fortunate Assistant Professors but even in my day that wasn’t assured. By a long shot. Two concurrent R01s is more reasonable but still is quite a feat. Rockey published data showing that 1-2 R01s is a solid plurality of all R01-holding PIs, right? So this is the entry qualification for tenure? I don’t see that as at all reasonable.

I do agree that hitting the 25+ papers measure would almost require multiple R01 levels of funding. So that part lines up.

I wonder how many of their faculty really measure up to this standard at tenure time.

Speaks to the sad reality that our profession has a general stance of “never enough”. You are rarely allowed to meet expectations because they are set at some absurd aspirational level that only the top few meet (if that). Then most people are reluctantly passed as some sort of exception to the rule. As everyone tells them to redouble their efforts for the next review stage.

I don’t like this part of our profession.

h/t: http://twitter.com/YountLabOSU/status/551520086163718144

*naturally the narrative above the summary table is filled with the usual weasel wordage about adjusting for subfield expectations, etc. And about how these quantitative measures are not a guarantee nor a non-negotiable hard limit. Nevertheless, they chose to summarize with a *very* high bar.