PhD/PsyD How many publications to be competitive for TT faculty or K award?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by weeblewobble, Sep 7, 2017.

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  1. weeblewobble

    weeblewobble 5+ Year Member

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    I am in my second year of postdoc, and working towards getting either a TT faculty job at a research focused institution, or getting a K at my current institution, a fairly prestigious AMC. I only have 5 publications, and my primary mentor thinks this is way too low to be competitive this job cycle. He think I need 12-30 (!!!!) to be competitive for either a job or a K. But other faculty members differ hugely... I've heard anything from "it doesn't matter, since you're a clinical researcher," to 4-5 publications, to 8-10, to 12-30. Anyone have any ideas about this? What do hiring committees and award committees expect? Is it possible that expectation are lower for applied/clinical/services research vs. experimental/neuroscience research? Thanks!
     
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  3. SLB-CO

    SLB-CO

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    How many are you first author on? What's the quality of the journals you are published in? Did a substantial amount of those come in the last couple years? What do you have in the pipeline?

    In general, if you're looking for positions at research-focused institutions, I would work on publishing. FWIW, I'm also in clinical and am in my first year of a T-T position. I didn't have an outrageous number of pubs (maybe 7-8?) when I applied last cycle but at least half of them were first author and published in well respected journals in my field. I also took the position straight out of internship; I have heard that places look for more productivity as you move along, as in theory, a few years into post doc should allow you more time to publish than someone straight out of grad school.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

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    5 is definitely on the low end, but 30 is crazy. 10+ should put you in good shape for R1 jobs. If that isn't the goal, obviously it matters less. A lot does depend on the nature of your research and where you publish. 5 pubs in top journals is one thing, 5 in IF=2 journals is another. If anything, I have seen lower productivity expectations for experimental/neuro than clinical, but it depends what you mean. Clinical research often has larger samples and more opportunities for secondary data analysis (hence higher expectations), but obviously clinical trials can be incredibly time consuming and primary papers can take forever to generate. Neuroscience it is easier to generate a dataset in a year, but takes vastly longer to analyze the data with more opportunities for things to go awry and fewer secondary analyses that can emerge. All of this is an extreme generalization, there are many exceptions in either direction.

    For what it's worth, I had around 18 pubs when I submitted my K (year one of post doc). All reviewers commented positively on my trajectory and I got the impression that was far more than expected/necessary. Funded (easily) first try. I know people finishing their Ks who still don't have 30 pubs...
     
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  5. weeblewobble

    weeblewobble 5+ Year Member

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    I'm first author on 4 and second author on one. The journals are all IF =2 or so, but they're specialty journals for my field. They're all from 2015-2017. I have 4 papers under review (3 1st author, 1 4th author) and 2-3 to be submitted in the next month (2 first author, 1 3rd author), plus at least another 5 in preparation. I started publishing later than I wanted to- mostly due to the structure of my grad lab. My grad school mentor didn't emphasize publishing at all, and really focused on publishing in specialty journals without really ever considering higher impact journals. I know I need to start publishing in higher impact journals, and a few of the ones under review/about to be submitted are going to higher impact journals.
     
  6. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    I'd say that 5-10 pubs will have you within a competitive range for a number of TT positions (you said TT but not what type of job you want- are you looking a major research gig with heavy grant pressure or what, so that will vary). How competitive you are will vary on a number of factors like the school you are applying for, department need in the job call, who else is hunting for jobs at that school, your other application materials, the specifics of the publications (IF, authorship, etc), etc. IF is a bit hard to put a number on because IF = 2 may be good, depending on your specialty and entirely reasonable. I would be wary of any the impact a journal might have on standing out with an IF below 1 regardless. FWIW, I had around 10 or so out of internship last year and landed a TT job at a major research institution with plenty of interviews and opportunities.

    Go take a look at the bio pages on institutions similar to those you want to be at and skim the CV of assistant professors. How many did they have when they came in? Be similar to that.
     
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  7. SLB-CO

    SLB-CO

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    You sound like you're in decent shape to me to at least try out the market, depending on your institutions of choice and if any of those under review papers have a good shot of being accepted soon. How many years is your post doc? If you'd be happy in your current position for another year, but want to try out the market, you might consider applying to the handful of places you'd really love to work and that seem to have the right 'fit'. That way you can get your application materials together, get experience interviewing for t-t positions, and if things work out right, land a position you'd love. The worst case is that you don't land anything, but at least your whole fall hasn't been sucked up being on the market. I know people who have applied to 80+ positions because they were nervous about their qualifications, and I think that's ridiculous. You spend soooooo much time preparing and then interviewing only to end up being offered positions that you don't really want; you only applied to them because you weren't sure you were cut out for your favorite positions. So, you turn them down and continue in your post-doc when you've wasted so much time applying all over the place. There's always next year and with what you have in the pipeline, it sounds like you'd be a much stronger candidate pub-wise then.
     
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  8. bpsydme

    bpsydme 2+ Year Member

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    Sorry for the basic question, but where does one go to find faculty/TT positions? Is it mostly by word of mouth, networking at conferences, university websites? Also, I've heard of/met a few people during internship interviews who secured a faculty position without a postdoc. I had imagined they were superstars in their field with 30+ publications, but this thread seems to suggest otherwise. Can anybody shed some light on what it takes to get a TT position right out of internship?

    Also, please let me know if I'm hijacking this thread, I will create a new one in that case.
     
  9. SLB-CO

    SLB-CO

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    You're saying I'm not a superstar? ;)

    I found the positions I applied to from listservs or mentors who sent them my way. You could also check higher ed jobs and the psych jobs wiki is updated regularly by folks on the market and some search committee members.

    Re: what it takes - this is very dependent on where you want to land - R1, R2, small liberal arts college, etc. Do you want your load to be primarily research or teaching? Do you want PhD students or undergrads? Are you looking for a 1-1 or are you okay with a 3-3 with fewer research expectations? What do you need your start-up to look like?

    In general, in PhD granting departments (this is what I've seen from being on the market, being a grad student on search committees, and what I've heard from mentors, so take it with a grain of salt): showing that you have gotten funding in the past and have a clear path for your research and getting future funding is critical; having a decent amount of pubs that demonstrates your own work and not just publishing from your mentor or a highly productive lab is helpful; demonstrating that you can teach well and have good reviews is important; having leadership roles in the field or some other way that will elevate the department can be useful; that you fit the description of what they're look for is critical; that you have a commitment to getting licensed (if clinical) and plan to accrue hours while on faculty is important; stellar letters of rec also certainly help.

    I didn't think I would land a position this past year straight out of internship; I applied only because my dream job came on the market and it wasn't likely they'd have a position again for the next year or two and then to a couple other ones that came along because they were great fits and I already had my packet ready to go. I was surprised to get interviews everywhere I applied and multiple job offers. I'm sure part of that was luck. I think it also had a lot to do with being selective in where I applied - I only applied to positions I really, really wanted - and I think that 'fit' was key.

    If you apply straight out of grad school, be prepared to answer why you feel you're ready for the position now and don't need a post doc. If you're able to convincingly answer that - both for yourself and for the search committee - you'll be in a good place.

    Finally, if you're not yet on internship and think this is the route you'll take, I'd encourage you to be selective with your internship. Rank ones with postdocs you'd like high so you have a back-up plan and don't have to spend your time applying to post-docs too. Make sure they're flexible with your travel schedule - on-site T-T interviews will eat up 2-3 work days (1.5-2 days on site plus travel). Make sure that you can finish the internship in time to start the faculty position. The support of my internship site was crucial for my success navigating the market.

    Feel free to PM me if you want to talk specifics.
     
  10. bpsydme

    bpsydme 2+ Year Member

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    Wow, thank you for that detailed response! From what you said, it sounds like you ARE a superstar in your field :) Your line about asking myself to see if I'm ready without a postdoc was very helpful, I found my brain screaming "NOOOO!" Congratulations on your position!
     
  11. EmotRegulation

    EmotRegulation 5+ Year Member

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    Look at the Psych Jobs Wiki for jobs: Psychology Job Wiki 2017-2018 - Psychology Academic Job Search

    I also got a TT job right out of internship, and wasn't expecting it. I applied thinking it'd be good experience to get a phone interview, and then ended up with 5 on campus interviews and multiple offers. I think I maybe had 10 or so publications when I applied, but only 2 first authors (if I remember correctly).

    I'm not sure if it's possible to be "ready" exactly, it's hard to know what a postdoc would bring. For myself, I was ready to make money and ready to teach, and was willing to jump in to starting my own lab (there were, of course, some hiccups and a learning curve).

    Two things. First is that I echo what other people have said--there are many flavors of a TT job, whether R1 or R2, SLAC, CC, etc. I knew for myself that I wanted to be somewhere with a PhD program because I wanted to mentor graduate students and supervise clinical work at the doctoral level, which meant R1/R2s. The competition for R1/R2s may be higher and is definitely different than the market for SLACs. All will care about research, but more heavy research institutions will care more about funding, etc.

    Second is that the competition for academic jobs in psychology departments for clinical just isn't as fierce as it is for experimental folks. Why? Because the modal clinical student goes into clinical work, and super research heavy clinical folks often go into academic medical center environments. Compared to the number of applicants my program gets for social/cognitive/neuro jobs, there are just FAR fewer applicants for psych department clinical jobs, especially if you are willing to live in a place that isn't a big city. Also feel free to PM if you'd like, I have now served on several search committees so seen the process from both sides. :)
     
  12. bpsydme

    bpsydme 2+ Year Member

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  13. calimich

    calimich Assistant Professor 2+ Year Member

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    I'll add my experience for those not looking at research heavy institutions. I'm just starting my 2nd year at a master's (and a few Ed.Ds) granting elite SLAC in a major metro area, and most would say highly desirable location. I was hired out of postdoc (from a flagship R1) with 4 articles (3 sole author), 1 chapter in-press in an APA book, 15+ conference presentations, modest grant $$ (~40k), licence-eligible, outstanding LORs, and lots of teaching experience (my funding was as a teaching assistant, my final year I also taught at a CC, and I was a high school teacher for 5 yrs prior to grad school).

    I applied selectively to public R2s and SLACs; location, quality of life, and philosophy of department/school were most important to family and me. I was surprised to receive 8 phone interviews, which turned into 7 campus interviews, and finally 2 offers. I ended up choosing the SLAC over an R2 for the caliber of student the college attracts and the points I already mentioned.

    Regular teaching loads are 3-3, delivered in 2-15 week semesters, plus a week for finals. My largest class is 24 and I'm the only clinician on the TT. With strong undergrads, some want to apply straight to doc school after college -- they are my research assistants. For tenure, one must receive "outstanding" marks in teaching while research and service can be "meets expectations."

    For the job search I used psychjobwiki and made a automated search bot on higheredjobs. If you're looking for this cycle (to start fall 2018), deadlines are rapidly approaching and likely some have already passed. Good luck!
     
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  14. SLB-CO

    SLB-CO

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    I hope you know I was kidding! Good luck, bpsydme.
     
  15. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Wow, that must be nice. Seriously. At my two prior R1s clinicians are required to land federal grants and have 12-15+ qualified* publications since you started at the institution....to be considered for Associate Professor.

    *dept specific, but typically in top 1/2 of speciality...depending on IF.

    If that sounds unreasonable...it is, which is why so many top clinicians are leaving AMCs.
     
  16. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    Yup, there is pressure for me to produce 4-5 pubs a year (although the IF matters less, so long as its < 1) and submit several grants a year for associate. Non-AMC
     
  17. EmotRegulation

    EmotRegulation 5+ Year Member

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    I am at what I call a "baby" R1 (we are technically R1 but barely at a flagship campus without a medical school), and we definitely have to submit for funding for tenure/promotion but they are understanding if you don't actually get it. Research is definitely highest priority here, but with fairly reasonable productivity requirements. I got tenure last spring on time, didn't stop the clock even when I had a baby in my 4th year.
     
  18. calimich

    calimich Assistant Professor 2+ Year Member

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    yes it's nice, and a great fit for me. I enjoy research and scholarship, but there was no way I wanted to be in a "publish or perish" environment. Research expectations for Associate are simply "peer reviewed scholarship." I've heard this can be met, at a minimum, through conference presentations. For Full, one is expected to have a "history of publications in peer reviewed journals" and "demonstrated contributions to the field." No mention of impact factors or grant money. Another cool thing, imo, is that our research can be in our area of specialty, or more generally investigating questions of pedagogy. They really don't care so much what we're researching as long as students are actively involved.
     
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  19. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist 5+ Year Member

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    Yes this is often what you see at more teaching-oriented institutions. It's a nice contrast to the "funding or perish" environment out there at a lot of places. To each their own!
     
  20. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center 7+ Year Member

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    Several people from my program have managed to do this. What they seem to have had in common was (1) plenty of publications (not 30 but probably 10+ for sure), (2) a record of some awards and small grants, and (3) a coherent research agenda.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  21. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    As Ollie said, huge variance.

    I have around 60 (finishing K at present). I had 11 or 12 when I graduated (don't remember precisely now). But numbers aren't everything or even the best way to tell a story.

    I would look at this process similarly to how one would tell a story. Does your trajectory make sense? Do your publications allow you to tell a compelling story? Are your papers well cited? Are you proposing an interesting direction for your field? For a K, does your mentor team and institution support the direction of your work and the training elements proposed? Did you attend a good school,internship and postdoc?

    Grants help.

    My postdoc experience ended with an F32. You want to tell a story that includes funding :)
    At R1 AMCs (my position), the game is mostly about grant dollars. Many AMCs require two R01s for tenure (associate). Mine is one. I am not there yet even with a couple million in grant funding in my history. Many of my peers are already full professors. . .at psych departments. So, there can be drawbacks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  22. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist 5+ Year Member

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    To get a research faculty one right out of internship, I'd say apply for a K - unlikely you can get one without a postdoc, but it has been done before.

    This is more realistic for a smaller teaching institution (SLAC) if you have enough teaching experience. It will vary more at an R2 - I'd say those are going to be based on fit and how realistic your research program is. I've seen this done before too - but if you are clinical, then you might have to figure out how to get some supervised hours in if you are interested in getting licensed still.
     
  23. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I'll just echo what some others have said.
    Being able to articulate a clear, FUNDABLE research agenda is more important than raw number. 40 pubs using undergrad samples on motivations for stargazing on Tuesdays won't get anyone a job, but four pubs on longitudinal mixed methods work on HIV risk among at-risk substance using populations could be very competitive.
    I had something like 20 pubs when I applied during internship and got a TT job with no post doc. In retrospect, if things had not turned out well I would have regretted not ranking my AMC internship interviews that funneled into post-docs higher.
    I did find that having a pub or two on neat training-related issues helped me. Not everyone will care about your main topic, but I've found that nearly everyone in academic settings thinks training research is neat.
     
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  24. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist 5+ Year Member

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    Isn't it though!
     
  25. SLB-CO

    SLB-CO

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    That licensure piece is key, and something you'll need to consider depending on department. If you're applying to be faculty in a clinical psych phd program, they will likely be much more invested in your licensure (e.g., significantly reduced load to account for the time you need to spend accruing hours, all supervision costs and EPPP/license costs fully covered in start-up and renewals/insurance covered forevermore - this adds up, depending on state) as opposed to SLACs, where you might be on your own. As you probably know, states differ widely in terms of post-doc hour and format requirements - how many hours must be direct services, etc., so you'll want to look into that as well. At least one R1 I looked at did all supervision of not-yet-licensed faculty in-house, but others covered everything outside the department, so it varies.
     
  26. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I agree, it (training work) is generalizable across specialties.
     

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