The “three-paper” rule

It is customary these days, for students pursuing a doctoral degree in a scientific discipline, to co-author a number of articles published in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals, during the course of their studies. In many disciplines, the widespread expectation is that by the time doctoral candidates are ready to take the final exam, their curriculum vitae will sport a number of publications, most of which with them as leading authors and/or in high-impact journals in their field of study.

In the early years of their graduate training, student publications typically arise as a result of them being involved in existing research efforts, often times under the lead of another, more senior student. As they progress with their own research project, students publish landmark results of work to which they contribute more and more substantially, in fact eventually becoming the main investigators thereof. This work, in turn, forms the core of their doctoral dissertation.

There are many good reasons for encouraging graduate students to publish their work during their time in school; but, there are also potential dangers with pushing too far the notion that the number of published papers should be the ultimate, or even most important measure to gauge a student’s progress. In particular, I regard as meaningless and pernicious the idea of a minimum number of published manuscripts (three, four or however many) as a de facto requirement, in order for a student to be ready to graduate — an idea ostensibly popular among faculty and students alike (it is often phrased as “a dissertation should be worth three papers, each one corresponding to a chapter — plus introduction, methodology and conclusions”).

First of all, why should students publish ? I can think of the following reasons:

0) Scientific publication is how work is communicated and disseminated throughout the community. There is no substitute for it, and any scientist worthy of this name must be capable of doing just that — communicating effectively in writing the outcome of a scientific experiment or calculation, as well as providing an appropriate description of the work carried out. And it is not only about writing articles. A significant fraction of the time spent by a professional scientist goes to writing — proposals, internal reports, and even documents aimed at a general audience. Writing articles turns out to be an excellent training ground for that kind of writing.
The job of teaching a graduate student how to write a clear, concise and informative scientific article, rests with the student’s major professor but, as in everything else, practice makes perfect. That means that it is a good idea to have a student go through this exercise periodically. Granted, an advisor could ask for a simple “internal” progress report, to be written for the exclusive benefit of the advisor and the student’s supervisory committee. Chances are, however, that that will not entail the same level of rigour, thoroughness and precision that is expected of an article that will undergo peer review. There is a lot to be said for the process of going through the literature, trying to place one’s work in the broader context of the collective effort of the community, comparing results to those of others who have carried out similar investigations, understanding the possible implications on and connections to someone else’s research, thinking of future developments [0].

1) A published article is in many respects a milestone, marking the completion of an important intermediate step toward a more ambitious, comprehensive final goal. Its authoritative significance, offers a reasonably impartial, objective assessment of the progress made by a student. Among other things, it provides some factual basis for a supervisory committee, a department chair, a scholarship evaluator, to extend the support of that student, in light of the progress made.
It can also have the effect of reassuring and boost the morale of the student, by giving him/her “something to show” for all the work done up to that point, as opposed to fearing that sleepless nights in the lab or at the computer may all be for naught.

2) Want it or not, publications remain the most important hallmark of one’s scholarly activity, they are what makes our work known to society (at least the segment thereof with which we interact), and they constitute the basis for evaluation of an academic scientist for hiring, tenuring and promotion purposes. It seems good practice for students who aspire to pursue the academic route to start building a respectable publication list as early as possible.

Having said the above… one also must be very wary of any attempt, or any (un)stated practice on the part of a department or individual faculty, of setting a minimum number of co-authored articles as a requirement for graduation.
Yes, I have witnessed cases of students graduating with a PhD without a single published article, and while that may not be the optimal outcome, it can happen, and it should not be taken as a partial failure. Conversely, I have seen students who had co-authored a relatively large number of publications, well above the average for graduate students in their field, who in my opinion did not possess the level of knowledge and scientific maturity that a “doctor” should have — some of these students actually struggled to finish their PhD, and did not really get very far in research thereafter.
I am occasionally in the position of hiring a postdoctoral collaborator myself, and I routinely pass on candidates with a large number of publications, opting instead for others with a shorter CV. There are many possible reasons why the latter may give me a stronger impression, e.g., through their research statement, in their interaction with me, with the way they talk about their work, their presentation skills, their imagination, and so on.
There are circumstances in which publication of the outcome of doctoral research work simply is not possible, for a number of valid reasons. However, this should be at least in part divorced from a dispassionate, objective assessment of whether a PhD candidate should be granted the degree sought. In other words, while lack of publications can be a bellwether of weak research skills, and therefore the reasons should be ascertained, it need not mean that.

Here are a few personal considerations, in random order:

0) Publishing a paper does not have any thaumaturgic effect. One does not wake up one day a scientist, just because article number three (or, whatever) has appeared in print. Whether or not a student is maturing, becoming a confident scientist and a valuable asset to a research group, is something that a PhD supervisor must assess by observing the person on a daily basis, over the course of a few years.

1) Any “minimum number” rule puts undue additional pressure on students who are already trying to get as much done as possible in a limited time.

2) More importantly, such a rule cheapens the pursuit of a doctoral degree, i.e., a complex, multi-faceted and life-changing endeavour, by reducing it to mere accumulation of co-authored papers, when there is so much more to it than that. In my opinion, if a student can carry out research over the course of 3 years to the satisfaction of his/her major professor and supervising committee, showing competence and maturity, the capability of interacting profitably with other scientists and talking knowledgeably about his/her field, deliver effective presentations and write a clear, exhaustive dissertation — all of that by itself is worth a doctoral degree. If on top of that there are publications, so much the better, but if for whatever reason the output has been less than initially hoped for, to no fault of the student, that student ought not be held hostage to some “publication dogma”.

3) Insisting that a number of articles be published before completion of the degree, has potentially unfair effects on students in some specific disciplines or sub-fields thereof, in which the magnitude, scope and duration of research projects make it especially hard to publish a lot. An obvious example is experimental high energy physics, with experiments whose build-up can easily take several years and publishable data may not even be available within a reasonable time frame for completion. Should that mean that graduate students in that area should accept from the start that their time in graduate school will be longer than for their colleagues, for reasons over which they have no control ?

4) Lest we forget: this is research, which means, sometimes things simply do not work out. Experiments do not yield useful data, maybe they were not well thought out to begin with, theoretical approaches fail to yield any novel insight. I maintain, however, that there is a chance for students to grow into respectable science professionals, even working on doomed projects.

5) Contrary to popular belief, the academic route is not what the totality, or even the majority of doctoral candidates, aspire to. Many of them are actually interested in pursuing one of the many alternative careers that are available, for example in industry. Emphasis placed in industry on publications is nil. So, why should doctoral candidates who have demonstrated the analytical and technical skills, as well as the knowledge of the field that is expected of a doctor in their area, be prevented from graduating over an extra paper, given that the impact that these papers will have on their future career is nil ?

6) Again in that “Contrary to popular belief” vein, sheer number of papers has long ceased to be (if it ever was) a criterion for hiring of postdoctoral associates or assistant professors, for tenuring and promotion, for prize conferral etc. Things like actual impact of published papers (measured, for example, by number of citations, or speaking invitations received by the students connected to those works), prestige of the journal(s) where papers are published, how many co-authors, the role played by the person in the various works, all of that greatly outweighs the mere count. Again, no reason to hold a doctoral candidate to a standard that society deems inappropriate anyway.

Notes

[0] An immediate consequence of this reasoning, is that for the purpose of evaluating a student’s maturity, published papers should be assessed differently depending on the actual contribution given by the student to the writing of the manuscript.

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34 Responses to “The “three-paper” rule”

  1. chemprof Says:

    There is one other reason to publish that I feel very strongly about, and tell all my graduate students. When we rely on public funds for research then I believe that we have something of a moral obligation to publish the results of our research. However that may be, we should make these results publicly available so that others can learn from and build on these results. When we don’t do this, then I think the public are well within their rights to ask what we are doing with their money and for some proof that we are using it responsibly.

  2. GMP (GeekMommyProf) Says:

    Nice post! I agree with you for the most part.
    Still, for a given group, I believe it makes sense to state, semi-formally at least, what the minimal criteria sufficient for graduation are. It benefits the students psychologically to know when they are nearing completion. The criteria should obvioulsy not be uniform across disciplines.

    And, we cannot be oblivious of how others will judge the student’s record in subsequent employment. I have seen examples of very gifted students who were put on extremely difficult projects which didn’t work out; if the advisor is not careful to ensure back-up bread-and-butter papers or coauthroships, you have a very gifted but poorly advised student finish with nothing… So we, as advisors, have a duty to ensure the student ‘looks good’ on paper upon graduation, however you define ‘good’ (number of papers, number weighted by contribution and impact); or at least we need to ensure the student does not look much poorer on paper than his/her (or dare I say, “their”! :-) real abilites and efforts would indicate.

  3. cherish Says:

    Where to start?

    I agree with you completely, so that’s probably a good starting point. But I also know that your general viewpoint is far more friendly to the interests of students than many professors.

    However, given the number of times I have heard this said to me, I am beginning to think that this is a ‘universally applied metric’ (the other being that a single paper is the equivalent of an MS). I have heard it from several people on both the engineering and science side of things. I am also recalling the comment on my NSF fellowship app about a major weakness being that I had no publications based on my master’s degree (because the four I had were conference papers).

    One thing that I think this ‘metric’ attempts to correct are those professors who keep their students on indefinitely. Some places are attempting to correct that through oversight of a DGS or similar person, but if someone has finished 3 papers and their advisor is refusing to let them graduate, this can be some leverage. Maybe the advisor is trying to do them a favor by keeping them on a bit later and helping them to hone their skills, but I don’t think that’s the usual motivation. When I asked a friend of mine when he would graduate, his response was, “When my advisor finds a grad student to replace me. That’s the only way you get a degree from this place.” In light of practices like this, I think having that ‘rule of thumb’ is a good idea, but there should also be latitude for a professor who can show a compelling reason to keep a student on beyond that. I also think that if a professor doesn’t wish to require 3 papers from their student, that should entirely be up to them.

  4. Schupp Says:

    What chemprof says. Yes, grants supporting students do so partly for educational reasons, but also partly in order to get research done. A PhD project should definitely be started with the expectation that there will be publications. That things do not always work out as planned is indeed another story…. Some students back at Provincial Tech seemed to be hired as technicians (often, but by not means always, in connection to industry projects) or TA-slaves by their advisers, and publishing papers simply never was a substantial part of the agenda. This should be discouraged, in my opinion.

    I do not think that you are right about industry not caring for papers at all, BTW. Most of the people whom I know and who now work in industry said that publications are relevant, because companies that recruit physics PhDs usually know that PhD students are expected to publish. If a candidate hasn’t, it can be taken as an indication that they didn’t do a good job in their previous employment. How much of an issue this is obviously depends on the people involved, with some HR people being more reasonable than others. (Just like in academia, what a surprise.) My observation admittedly comes from an economy where an even higher percentage of fresh PhDs go into industry, but I do not think that this changes a lot.

  5. Schupp Says:

    Oh, and I think the “one paper from a Master’s” that Cherish mentions to be an even more disastrous rule: Given the shorter duration of a Master’s, it is much more probable that even an excellent student can simply have bad luck.

    • cherish Says:

      Yes, but unfortunately that seems to be the expectation. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but a student without a publication will look weaker than one who does. There seems to be this notion that luck has nothing to do with it.

  6. prodigal academic Says:

    Nice post. I totally agree (and not just because my PhD work resulted in only 1 first author paper for me). I was on a classic building/method development project where I worked for 4 years on the technique, then took data for 1. The three paper rule would effectively kill projects like that, which are important to improvements in instrumentation and technique. Granted, I had a side project that generated non-first author papers for me, but if I had bad luck in side projects, I would have had nothing extra.

    Students should not be judged based on their CVs, but instead based on their scientific maturity. It is best if students can publish a lot, of course. But an academic committee should be able to know a student well enough to avoid the “bean counter” pitfall. It is the advisor’s responsibility to put the student’s CV in context in their recommendation (phone or letter), since almost all jobs require references.

    As for industry not caring about pubs, that is not my experience at all. When I was interviewing for industrial positions, they asked me about the progress of my publications under review and in prep. Furthermore, friends in industry use academic CVs plus references to determine who gets an interview.

  7. transientreporter Says:

    Never mind all that. How about the important stuff?
    Looks like Grosso’s out. So is Luca Toni. Totti remains retired. Guiseppe Rossi is in (mistake). Most importantly, WHERE IS MARIO BALOTELLI?

    • Massimo Says:

      Looks like Grosso’s out. So is Luca Toni. Totti remains retired.

      Gee, thanks for that…

      Guiseppe Rossi is in (mistake).

      Yes, HUGE mistake — it’s “Giuseppe”. But even worse mistakes: Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Camoranesi, Pirlo. Gattuso. What is this, some, over-35 type competition ?
      And: Marchisio. Montolivo. Pepe. Palombo. Excuse me, who are these people ?

      WHERE IS MARIO BALOTELLI?

      WHERE IS FABRIZIO MICCOLI ?
      WHERE IS ANTONIO CASSANO ?

      And finally: why is that, horrible, horrible individual still our coach ?

      So, I think we largely agree.

      • Luis Says:

        WHERE IS MARIO BALOTELLI?

        WHERE IS FABRIZIO MICCOLI ?
        WHERE IS ANTONIO CASSANO ?

        And… Where’s Amauri, to add some South-American flair to the Squadra Azzurra?? ;)

        BTW, nice post! I agree that setting a minimum number of papers is meaningless: if the student is required to publish in order to graduate, the work WILL be published SOMEWHERE more often than not. Then, what’s next? A “minimum impact factor” rule? A “no conference proceedings” addendum?

        I see Schlupp and others are giving you a hard time on the “Emphasis placed in industry on publications is nil” bit. I guess the importance of papers largely depends on what you mean by “industry”. Do you mean the private sector as a whole? Or do you mean those niche jobs for physicists (say, quant jobs at Goldman Sachs, chip growers at Intel, etc.)? Papers might be relevant in the latter.

      • Massimo Says:

        Then, what’s next? A “minimum impact factor” rule? A “no conference proceedings” addendum?

        No more than four authors ? Either first author or last ? Must have written the first draft ? Must be the corresponding author ? There is no limit to how anal it can get.
        And I can already see all sort of bad things happening because of any such “rule”, i.e., students filing complaints against unreasonable advisors who insist with not letting them graduate in spite of them having already published more than the minimum accepted number of papers, as well as advisors raising the bar for authorships for their students, not wanting them to get too quickly to the minimum required number. It is just a bad idea.

        As for industry, Luis, again, I am not saying that it will never happen — for all I know it may even be true that some industrial recruiters discard from consideration candidates who have no publications — unbelievable as that sounds. What I am saying is, I am thinking that it is sufficiently rare that making publication a requirement in view of its possible impact on a future industrial career would be disingenuous and frankly absurd.

      • Schlupp Says:

        No, no, Luis, paper are clearly not relevant at all. The prior for that is 0, no amount of evidence is ever going to make a difference, I see the light now.

  8. Massimo Says:

    OK, thanks for all the comments but, just to re-iterate and/or clarify:

    1) I am not downplaying the importance of publications. I do think that graduate students should publish. I re-read my post and I think I do state this much, fairly unambiguously.

    2) I am against setting any kind of rule, spoken or unspoken, departmental or as an individual advisor, on a minimum number of co-authored articles that graduate students must have, in order to defend their thesis, i.e., in order for them to be regarded even eligible to become doctors.
    I find any such requirement meaningless and hypocritical, especially when it is advocated by academics, namely people who know full well the difference between a paper in Nature and twenty papers in [insert favourite irrelevant journal here], one that is extensively cited and one that is extensively self-cited, one that starts a field and one in a field that is dead.

    3) Unfortunate and rare an occurrence as that is, it is not unheard of that the outcome of five years of intense work may not be publishable. That ought not by default mean that the student cannot graduate. The circumstances should be ascertained, of course, but it is in the end the job of the advisor and the student’s committee to decide whether the student is ready to move on or not, not of some bean counter.

    4) Based on my experience with industry (I have a few former students of mine who are working there, plus countless advisees — I may also include the army, which was heavily recruiting in my San Diego days), I respectfully remain of my opinion that publications are essentially irrelevant. By that I mean that without a strong recommendation from the advisor, the person has virtually no chance of even being considered, regardless of any publication. Conversely, if advisors are willing to stick their neck out, especially if they have a frank and direct personal relationship with the recruiter, lack of publications is really not an issue.

    • Schlupp Says:

      ad 1), Oh, we got that. We just added another reason for making publications a goal, which you had not mentioned in your post’s list. Which I in turn think fairly clear upon reading chemprofs and my post. Not even re-reading should be needed. If you write list, you set yourself up for other peoples’ trying to complete them.

      As for your 4) Come,on, even if only some companies care at least a bit, then a strong word like “irrelevant” and “impact… is nil” are somwehat on the slightly overblown side. (Even if we include the job market for Master’s, where publication indeed seem to count far less.) “Not very important, especially once you’ve got your foot into the door”, would not have drawn much notice. But that’s not what you wrote, you flat aout asserted that papers do not matter at all, which is easy to disprove, because all one needs are a few examples.

      • Massimo Says:

        Nah, I think irrelevant or nil are fine. Schlupp, you know better than me that absolute zero or one do not exist, but when the measurable signal falls below the noise of the apparatus, or the statistical uncertainty, you just call it zero.
        I think the likelihood of someone getting (or not getting) hired in industry based on their publications (or lack thereof), as in “Gee, it’s a shame, this person comes with a very strong recommendation from the advisor, graduated from a good school, gave an excellent impression in the interview, possesses all needed technical skills, can communicate effectively, is considered for a position for which applicants of different backgrounds apply, some of whom do not have publications anyway, but… damn, look, no publications… nope, sorry…does not have what it takes for the job “, is sufficiently small that one can safely regard it as non-measurable. Are you sure you have actual “examples” of that (or, of its contrary ?).
        That they ask you, sure, they also often ask you what your interests outside work are…

      • Schlupp Says:

        I heard from two HR people whose companies are substantial in hiring physics PhDs that no publications are a red flag. Sure, they said that the red flag can be overcome, but red flag nevertheless.

        But no, I am not sure, they probably just said that to be polite. Now that you mention it, it is obvious.

  9. Betelgeuse Says:

    Industry cares about what you can do for them, they do not care about your PhD nor publications. You can even be fresh out of high school. If you can hack CIA’s website, you will be hired by Microsoft. I interviewed with the famed Goldman Sachs before crisis and they did not ask anything about my publications.(I had the magic 3, btw) In the first round, they ask simple statistics questions (phone interview). If you pass it, second round is in NY and you are asked C++ programming questions. They make the hiring decision in the third round where you meet the executives. You can have a PhD in any quantitative field (from an ivy league institution preferably). All you need is prolific C++ programming and advanced statistics knowledge.

  10. DrugMonkey Says:

    bravo. agreed.

    I would also submit that it sets the stage for cheating right from the start of a career. A Very Bad Thing, that.

    • Massimo Says:

      Absolutely, I can surely see how a student anxious and frustrated by the inability to generate data required for that famous nth paper, required by the advisor in exchange for graduation, may be tempted to go the Hendrik Schon way.

  11. Cath Ennis Says:

    Wonders if requirements for a minimum number of publications have anything to do with the gradually decreasing size of the Minimum Publishable Unit…

    Wonders if Massimo would like me to find an online world cup pool that we can join…

  12. qaz Says:

    The key here is the difference between a guideline and a rule. Three papers for a PhD is a pretty good guideline. Having this stated is particularly helpful in the two situations of (a) an advisor trying to keep a student to exploit them and (b) a student who wants a PhD with too little work. Both of these situations are very difficult to deal with in the absence of guidelines. It is, however, important to be flexible about the details of this guideline. Certainly, there will be students whose experiments didn’t work or who didn’t publish enough but still deserve the degree and there will be students with three papers who aren’t done yet. But having the guideline helps everyone stay on track. It also helps students have a sense of what is expected of them when they come in.

    • Massimo Says:

      No, I think it is still a bad idea, even if formulated more weakly, as a mere “guideline”. The fundamental flaw that I see is, you cannot count all papers as equivalent, and that is where any attempt of establishing even a softer, “unspoken” requirement would collapse. It would create more problems than it would solve, for example by pitching students against advisors who insist with requiring a third paper on some high impact journal, with a high rejection rate, as they see other students who are getting away with three conference proceedings.
      It may be appealing as a notion, but as soon as one starts thinking of how to formulate it, one opens a can of worms, for one has to decide what constitutes a “paper” — the impact factor of the journal ? The format ? The number of citations in the first year ? Is there a maximum number of authors allowed ? Should the student have written it ? I think it would be just a mess. I don’t see it doing anything good, really.

  13. Smurfette Says:

    As an Industry scientist responsible for hiring, I can honestly tell you that a CV without publications gets no interviews from me. No interview means that we don’t get to assess whether the candidate interviews well or whether he/she has good recommendations. Candidates are plenty and no publications is a quick way to reduce your pile of CVs to review.

  14. Max Says:

    Does anybody know the situation in different countries? I know that France has a minimum number of 1, the netherlands has a minimum number that I forgot, I know that USA/UK/Germany don’t have any minimum numbers. How about other countries?

    • Horrible Clarity Says:

      Well as someone who has just started their PhD in Australia I can tell you that there is no required number of publications to graduate here. However it was explicitly stated that my profs expect one year of study to equal one publication (± a review). However they were clearly of the opinion that this is as much to my benefit as anyone elses, basically stating that as ridiculous as it is and in spite of it being a poor measure people will look at number of publications first and everything else second.

  15. Betelgeuse Says:

    Smurfette, I see your point. Can you specify us which “industry” you work in? There is no “physics indsustry” in USA anymore (especially after the great recession). A typical non-academic “industrial” job a physicist takes involves C++ programming in fixed-income unit of a bank. You really do not have to know ANY physics for that, let alone publications in academic journals in an obscure subfield of physics. In industry, people don’t do academic research at all so I wonder how someone’s publications match up with the job he is applying for. Would you hire someone who has 4 papers but who cannot write a small subroutine as opposed to another person who is a prolific programmer but has 2 papers? I agree that zero publications after a 5 year ph.d. is alarming. There is no question about it… That is agreed upon by everyone.

    • Massimo Says:

      Along the same lines, Smurfette, I would be curious to know what other criteria, besides the lack of publications, are used to weed out applicants, and how does lack of publications compare, in importance, to things like: years spent in graduate school, grade point average, field of study and relevance to the job applied for, letters of reference, prestige of the school that granted the degree, specific technical or language skills that the applicant may have, possibly unrelated to the graduate degree, that could give her an edge over others… does lack of publication really close the book on an applicant that is otherwise very strong in all of these other areas ?

  16. Betelgeuse Says:

    Massimo, it is in fact news to me that you should add list of publications and (academic) references to a resume sent to an industrial job application. I interviewed with Fortune 500 companies like Intel and famed banks like Goldman Sachs and I had a 1 page resume that had no publications and list of my professors. They look at CV’s for 30 seconds. If you ask any recruiter, he would tell you that your resume should not be longer than one side of an A4 paper. Industry does not care who your ph.d. advisor was. They are more interested in pedigree, i.e. the reputation of the school where you completed your last degree. I can easily tell you that a ph.d. from harvard would open more doors than a ph.d. from urbana-champaign..

    • Massimo Says:

      Sure, I agree. I too remember, when I was applying for industry jobs, that I was routinely told to de-emphasize the more properly academic part of the resume, specifically publications, invited talks etc. I was told to send a different resume altogether, yes, no publications and greater emphasis on technical skills that may be relevant to the position for which I was applying (analytical and programming skills, typically). The idea was that anyone thinking that publications would make one more palatable to an industrial employer would not show the right mentality.

      • Betelgeuse Says:

        Exactly.. If you send your 3(or more) pages long academic CV to various companies, you will get no interviews… The ironic thing is that most physics(or any other) ph.d’s just do not know this simple fact. People are not given any non-academic career advice during that 5 year long graduate school despite the fact that no more than 20% of ph.d.’s end up in academic positions.

      • prodigal academic Says:

        It all depends on the company. Sure, for quant work or programming, publications are irrelevant. But in the semiconductor industry, they are an important weed out tool, as Smurfette says (I have lots of friends there). It isn’t just the pubs themselves, it is the not meeting the expectations of the “job” that is a part of it. Ditto for Big Pharma (hires many types of science PhDs for formulation, characterization, and process engineering). Not sure about Defense contractors, since I don’t know any non-engineers who went that route. There are many qualified applicants for each job, so it is not hard to find qualified people with the right degree, skills, and qualifications who also have published.

        When I was job hunting (and looking at industry in the above areas), I had a 2 page front and back resume/CV that had industry standard skills based stuff on the front page and publications and academic awards on the back. That was pretty common among job seekers from my University.

      • Massimo Says:

        Prodigal, I understand what you are saying, it makes perfect sense that for employment involving (at least in part) research, the criteria would progressively mimic those of academia, in fact more and more closely the more important the research component.
        My point is, I regard those jobs as almost “academic” jobs. I doubt if they constitute the bulk, or even a substantial fraction of all industrial jobs that are taken by science PhDs.
        If publications are indeed an effective weeding tool, then it means that a substantial fraction of applicants do not have any, and yet I don’t think that those people will go unemployed. So, sure, for specific jobs that require publications, then publications are important — but how many of them do, that is my question…

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