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    What are the publishing expectations like for a new PhD in the humanities on the job market in the UK? I ask as a UK citizen completing a PhD overseas. I'd like to come home and work in academia when I finish, but I figure I need to begin planning when, where and how to publish now so that I can compete on the UK market (as well as the US market, which I'm being trained for).

    In the US, a competitive first job applicant would likely have three publications in good journals (I am hoping for this, but it's not guaranteed), and a varied portfolio of teaching experience (I'll have one class as a TA, and at least four classes for which I have sole responsibility for the curriculum and all teaching/marking). I should have at least 6 major conferences on my CV, too...probably more. In the US, book chapters aren't really a big thing, and don't count towards tenure requirements so you're not encouraged to publish in collections. I have a very limited understanding of how the RAE works - what steps would I need to take to make myself an attractive candidate for a UK post?
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    I can't speak for humanities but can offer some insight (i'm a scientist). When interviewing for postdoc positions my supervisor has openly admitted that if he doesn't know the person then he ranks applicants by first name journal paper output. However, networking is the most important thing you can do if you want to get a job in another group. So don't be shy at conferences/workshops/summer schools etc. I wouldn't worry about REF (the new RAE) until you are working in the UK.
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    (Original post by paddy_)
    I can't speak for humanities but can offer some insight (i'm a scientist). When interviewing for postdoc positions my supervisor has openly admitted that if he doesn't know the person then he ranks applicants by first name journal paper output. However, networking is the most important thing you can do if you want to get a job in another group. So don't be shy at conferences/workshops/summer schools etc. I wouldn't worry about REF (the new RAE) until you are already a postdoc.
    Thanks, paddy_.

    I guess, ideally, I wouldn't do a postdoc (they're less common in the humanities anyway) my degree is 5-6 years long so by the time I graduate I will have done 6 or 7 years of postgrad work...doing a postdoc on top of that would be a little soul crushing. Of course, if I need to, I will, but I would rather not have to. In the US that is certainly the norm (not doing a postdoc) but maybe I'll have to rethink that if I want to return to the UK?

    Edit: as an addendum to the above, there are a number of postdocs that I'd be happy to do - high profile, named scholarships etc at institutions a rung or so above mine (Mellon postdocs at most places that have them, Cambridge CRASSH etc). I'd see those as a big CV booster, but they're incredibly competitive. If I didn't get one of those, then I don't see a postdoc adding too much to what I already have to offer, besides a year or so to do the prep work for turning my dissertation into a book.
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    (Original post by paddy_)
    I wouldn't worry about REF (the new RAE) until you are working in the UK.
    So, would publications done as a postgrad not get counted towards your new institution's REF?
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    When are you aiming to complete? In all likelihood, the next REF will not be until around 2020 so it is probably not worth worrying about too much at the moment. It is also difficult to know what form it will take. With changes to funding in HE in the UK and a lot less money coming from the government to support research it might be less important than teaching experience in the future (this is the view of several senior academics I know but the truth is nobody knows what will happen). Also be reassured that early career researchers are not expected to submit as many ref-able outputs as established academics.

    With regards to post-docs in my, admittedly rather traditional humanities discipline, all recently appointed lecturers at the kind of institutions I'm interested at working at in the long-term have done post-docs, most frequently Oxbridge JRFs, British Academy post-doctoral fellowships or Leverhulme early career fellowships (I am not sure about your eligibility for these if you've done your PhD abroad). It would be very unusual in my discipline to get a lectureship without a post-doc although I do know of a few people who have left their post-docs early to take up lectureships. And as an aside, a post-doc at a top university can often pay better than a lecturer at a lower-ranked uni, so look closely at job details and don't assume post-docs are a worse option.

    It very much depends on your discipline and what kind of university you would like to work at though. Have a look at the profiles of academics on university websites and academia.edu, where many have CVs online.
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    (Original post by fbbp)
    When are you aiming to complete? In all likelihood, the next REF will not be until around 2020 so it is probably not worth worrying about too much at the moment. It is also difficult to know what form it will take. With changes to funding in HE in the UK and a lot less money coming from the government to support research it might be less important than teaching experience in the future (this is the view of several senior academics I know but the truth is nobody knows what will happen). Also be reassured that early career researchers are not expected to submit as many ref-able outputs as established academics.
    I agree with this. The next REF exercise in my field is 2014 and there won't be another for years afterwards. If you're not planning to get back here immediately, then it shouldn't be a factor for you at present.

    Even the current REF goalposts are causing consternation. With next year's "Impact" measurement no longer even considering academic publication or citation (at least that's how it's being interpreted in my uni), staff in my faculty are scratching around to figure out how else to provide evidence of what their research has achieved. The HEFCE certainly seem to be moving the emphasis away from research and publication track record, although I should imagine it's always going to at least be a factor if the "Outputs" assessment element remains as it is (and that looks like a big *if*).
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    (Original post by fbbp)
    When are you aiming to complete? In all likelihood, the next REF will not be until around 2020 so it is probably not worth worrying about too much at the moment.
    Agreed. If you are not trying to get a position this year, then the REF will not be as significant for you since this round closes at the end of this year (for REF 2014) and there won't be another one for at least six years.

    Nevertheless, to get a full-time permanent lectureship in the humanities, the most important consideration is single-authored peer-reviewed journal articles in the top journals in your field. It sounds like the US system has prepared you well in this regard.

    Book chapters in edited collections are less valued in terms of assessment exercises although then can be very important in terms of building your name and establishing relationships with scholars in your sub-field.

    Another important consideration is having a contract for a monograph which many UK institutions still see as the gold-standard for humanities publishing.
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    Thanks for the replies everyone - very helpful.

    I'm a long way from submitting - am two years in to a five year program (I plan to submit in 2016), so will probably begin the job search late 2015 (not that I expect to get anything straight away). I've recently finished coursework and am at the stage where I should begin working on polishing a couple of papers to submit to journals in the next year or so, so that was what got me thinking about whether or not following the trajectory set out for me in my program here would actually make a me a desirable candidate for UK jobs. It sounds like that time frame might work out all right for me, then...especially if I manage to get a book contract while I'm still looking for a job.

    One other thing: it's quite normall in the States for new PhD's to work as adjuncts on a short term (class by class) basis, often teaching writing, because there's a massive demand for undergrad writing teachers, or to take a Visiting Assistant Professorship; these positions are often at non-research institutions like liberal arts colleges and Master's level universities - do you think that taking roles like these would make a candidate look unattractive to UK universities? I'm probably going to have to take them, whatever the answer is, but I can try to focus my applications for these jobs on research institutions.

    fbbp, thanks for your insight. I am in English, but my work is interdisciplinary and I think I will be a viable candidate for jobs in other disciplines/departments (American Studies, Cultural Studies and interdisciplinary departments focusing on urban issues), I suspect postdocs are more common in these other fields than in English, although I don't really know...
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    (Original post by madamemerle)
    Thanks for the replies everyone - very helpful.

    I'm a long way from submitting - am two years in to a five year program (I plan to submit in 2016), so will probably begin the job search late 2015 (not that I expect to get anything straight away). I've recently finished coursework and am at the stage where I should begin working on polishing a couple of papers to submit to journals in the next year or so, so that was what got me thinking about whether or not following the trajectory set out for me in my program here would actually make a me a desirable candidate for UK jobs. It sounds like that time frame might work out all right for me, then...especially if I manage to get a book contract while I'm still looking for a job.

    One other thing: it's quite normall in the States for new PhD's to work as adjuncts on a short term (class by class) basis, often teaching writing, because there's a massive demand for undergrad writing teachers, or to take a Visiting Assistant Professorship; these positions are often at non-research institutions like liberal arts colleges and Master's level universities - do you think that taking roles like these would make a candidate look unattractive to UK universities? I'm probably going to have to take them, whatever the answer is, but I can try to focus my applications for these jobs on research institutions.

    fbbp, thanks for your insight. I am in English, but my work is interdisciplinary and I think I will be a viable candidate for jobs in other disciplines/departments (American Studies, Cultural Studies and interdisciplinary departments focusing on urban issues), I suspect postdocs are more common in these other fields than in English, although I don't really know...
    It really depends where you want to end up. For example, a former polytechnic is likely to appreciate the breadth of your teaching experience and your interdisciplinay work. Likewise, the entry bar might be slighty lower. A lecturer in my third year joined almost straight after completing her PhD, without any post-doc experience. But if you want to work in a prestigious university then you can expect more competition.
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    I agree with what the other contributers have added to this thread and would repeat the advice to look at profiles of academics in departments you would be interested at working in. Also keep an eye on jobs.ac.uk to see what kind of post-docs come up and what the specifications are for early career lectureships. Evantej is quite right to point out that post-1992s sometimes take people straight from a PhD - very few of them do my subject so this was not really an option for me.

    With regards to the short-term teaching, I think everyone appreciates that you have to keep yourself afloat financially and that is the obvious way for an aspiring academic to do it so I don't think that is any problem as long as you continue to be research active. In the UK it is quite common for new PhDs to get short-term contracts (6-9months) to cover sabbaticals or maternity leave, but often these are so teaching intensive it is difficult to find time to publish and as screamingjay said, the monograph is still pretty important in humanities subjects. Some of my friends seem to be in vicious circles with these kinds of jobs, moving from one to another but not managing to advance their careers. Though in my experience the most important thing (again to stress in my very traditional discipline) is that people know who you are, either because they have read your published work or you have made a good impression on them at a conference. So if you are set on coming back to the UK I would try and present work at conferences here a few years before you complete.
 
 
 
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