Independence and Impact in the University Tenure Line
Generally, by the time of the promotion review, the candidate’s dossier should predominantly reflect a record of realized accomplishment (which confirms distinction/recognition in and impact on the field) rather than work that has been submitted or accepted but not yet published (which may speak more to promise).
Ultimately, the tenure decision is based on impact in a broadly defined field.
In assessing whether a candidate has had the fundamental impact on the field that is expected from its very best scholars, judgments should be informed by such considerations as whether the candidate is performing the kind of innovative, cutting-edge research on important questions in the field that:
breaks new ground
changes the way the field is viewed
broadens our understanding of the field
or opens up new methods or new areas of investigation
Review committee members will expect expert referees to assess the candidate’s impact and influence as a scholar through the lens of work that has been subjected to broad, formal scrutiny and cited by leaders in the field.
Candidates for promotion will be judged by the quality of their work and its impact rather than strictly by quantity. However, with fewer papers, each must have very high impact, and the candidate should be seen unequivocally as the driving force behind the publications.
The H-index and impact factor of a candidate’s publications are not routinely considered by review committees. However, the candidate may, in his or her discretion, include such information on the CV.
Patents can be viewed as validation of impact in the field and should be included on the curriculum vitae.
Trainees who publish and who obtain grants and academic positions are another useful indicator of impact.