May 19, 2022

Survey Findings: Publish or Perish? Faculty Publishing Decisions and the review, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) Process

From a Scholcomm Lab Blog Post:

As tenured faculty positions become increasingly competitive, the pressure to publish—especially in “high impact” journals—has never been greater. As a result, many of today’s academics believe having a strong publication record is necessary for the review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) process. Publishing, for some, has become synonymous with professional success.

Yet little is known about academics’ perceptions of the RPT process and how they influence their publishing decisions. What research outputs do faculty believe are valued in RPT decisions? How do these beliefs affect where and what they publish?


To find out, we surveyed faculty of 55 academic institutions across the US and Canada, asking them about their own publishing priorities and those of their peers, as well as their perceptions importance within review, promotion, and tenure.

Faculty identified the following three factors as being most important for RPT decisions:

  1. Total number of publications
  2. Number of publications per year
  3. Journal name recognition

Direct to Complete Blog Post,  View Charts (770 words)

Direct to Underlying Research Article (Preprint): “Why We Publish Where We Do: Faculty Publishing Values And Their Relationship To Review, Promotion And Tenure Expectations”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.