How your publication record is evaluated

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The information on this page initially started as part of a Professional Development Series in the Social Psychology Department at the University of Southern California.


How is a publication record evaluated or judged?

a) the authorship order,
b) the number of publications,
c) the prestige of the journals in which the studies are published,
d) the prestige of the other authors on the paper, and
e) the quality of the research (if this can be discerned from the title/topic of the article)
f) the type of research (empirical, review, theory, applied, etc)
1) First author in journal considered the best in your field (e.g., JPSP for Social/Personality researchers).
2) First authorships (number of first authorships and quality/prestige of those journals)
3) Numerosity (total number of publications and quality/prestige of those journals)

Why do most people follow these heuristics?

a) the first authorship indicates you were primarily responsible for the research,
b) and the research was of high quality considering that it was published in what is considered the top choice outlet for empirical research in your field,
c) and you have achieved what is considered by most researchers to be the highest benchmark in your field when it comes to publishing empirical research.
a) you have the ability to conduct empirical research that is of suitable quality to be published in a peer-reviewed journal,
b) the number of first authorships indicates the level of your ability to conduct different empirical research projects, and
c) the quality/prestige of those journals indicates the general level of quality of the research that you conducted.

How does authorship order affect the evaluation of a publication record?

What carries more weight, a review such as a meta-analysis, or a empirical study on a new topic?

What are the pros/cons of publishing a “short report”?

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