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I.J.

Collaboration and its Effect on Tenure and Promotion? 
Letters of Recommendation and Paper Counting

      Tenure committees are all different, and what works at one institution does not necessarily work at another. But as a general principle, although the bar is set at different levels at different institutions, they are looking for evidence
        * that you have done some important research,
        * that you are a mature and independent researcher,
        * and that you will continue to do research of sufficient quality and quantity.
      So if you collaborate, choose your coauthors so that this evidence is clear.
      A few papers with your advisor are fine, as are a few papers with a spouse or with senior people in your field. But these need to be accompanied by high-quality papers with you as a sole author, or with students as your only coauthors.

    Linda Keen:
      Collaborating in mathematics can be even more satisfying than working alone. Not only can you share your ideas but collaborators can help one another from spinning wheels and work can go more smoothly. In the tenure process, however, there are some pitfalls to avoid. If you only collaborate with your advisor, or with senior people there may be questions about whether you really hold your own in your research program. You should have some independent work and some collaborations with your peers.

      Policies about whether collaborators may write recommendation letters on your behalf vary with institutions. You should inquire about what the policy at your institution is. If they have a policy not to consider recommendations from collaborators, you should make sure that your work is known by others in the field besides your collaborators. Send your preprints to others in the field and ask for comments. That way there will be non-collaborators who have an idea of what you are doing.

      It is important also to consider where your papers appear. it is best to have papers in standard refereed journals, not only conference proceedings. While papers in specialized journals will count, papers in wider range journals, for example, Transactions AMS or Proceedings AMS or other such may often count more. A good rule of thumb is that fewer papers in better journals counts more than lots of papers in less known journals or proceedings.

    Christina Sormani:
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