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Prepare for Promotion and Tenure


This guide covers the library resources central to promotion and tenure issues, but there is no one size fits all approach. Explore the areas that work best for you, and work with your librarian if you need any additional assistance.

General Tips

This guide covers a lot of ground, so you'll need to think about some of the following issues as you consider the best sources for you.

Use what is expected of you
Pay attention to university and school requirements for promotion and tenure materials. Collect and save materials that will support your case based on the requirements for your situation. If a grant funder requires that you list Journal Impact Factors for all of your publications, you'll need to do just that.

Avoid inappropriate numbers
VCU recognizes research and discovery scholarship, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community-engaged research. Especially for the scholarship of teaching and learning and for community-engaged research, the methods described elsewhere in this guide that emphasize citations and scholarly impact may not be appropriate. Even for "traditional" research and discovery scholarship, metrics should be used carefully within the norms of the discipline and applied to what the metric measures. 

Use the information that comes closest to the impact you want to document

  • Journal Impact Factor: Impact of a journal (not an article) to the academic community. Proxy for the rigor of peer review that article underwent prior to publication.
  • Citation count: Importance of particular publications to the academic community
  • h-index: Career-long impact of a researcher's publications on the academic community
  • Download statistics, AltMetrics: Early indication of interest in a publication that was published recently and is too new to have been cited
  • Reviews: Professional interest in the work and evaluation of its quality
  • Coverage in professional blogs and trade magazines: Impact of a publication or creative work on practitioners
  • Press coverage: Impact of a publication or creative work on the wider world

Put numbers in context
"The article was downloaded xx times in the first month after publication" doesn't mean much without some way of understanding what xx means. You may not be able to give complete context, but you may be able to provide a reference point for comparison, e.g. "downloaded xx times in the first month after publication, which was the most of any article in that issue of the journal and made it the tenth most-downloaded article in that journal in 2012." 

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