1) Many Mathematics departments ask to send a "list of publications" while applying for research postdoctoral jobs. My question is: how important is it to post my papers in arXiv. I know, posting on arXiv is always good, because people might search for the arXiv -ed papers, but how much difference is publication on arXiv going to make ? What if I prepare a publication list (in .pdf) of accepted paper(s), and submitted paper(s) and paper(s) in preparation and send it to the employers ? Will that be sufficient or as good as putting them on arXiv ? (I will also send them a link to my site containing the publication list, including the downloadable links).

The situation is: I can put one of my papers in arXiv, but the others are either in collboration or deal with problems that stem from a question raised by collaborator(s) and the collaborator(s) did't agree to put on arXiv right away. Hence I am asking.

2) Also what exactly should I write in the "list of publications", the name of the paper, author(s) and its status(accepted/submitted/in preparation), that's all or or should I briefly also describe its content/abstract (to make it more informational) ?

Thank you.

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    $\begingroup$ If you post your papers on the arXive, people looking at your publication list can read the papers, if they wish. So I think it is very useful to post them. $\endgroup$
    – rita
    Oct 26, 2012 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comment, but in my website, I will give the downloadable link to them. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2012 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ I think this question is better asked at academia.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Oct 26, 2012 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ Different people are different, but for me it would not make any difference since they are on your webpage (not available at all this would be a problem!). The arXiv is great, but sometimes finding all the papers of an author there is not so convenient anyway (yes, I know this is also or perhaps even entirely the authors fault, but things being as they are, my first choice to find the complete works of somebody is definitely not arXiv). If you send the list as pdf you can even make the link to your page clickable, it does not get much more convenient than that. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the second question: What else does the application material contain? How long is the list? If you submit a research report/project this seems the place to explain your work, not the list of pubs. In particular if it is already somewhat sizeable, you should keep it handy, and not clutter it with repetive information. If for some reason there is no other place whatsoever to explain your rearch then maybe you could consider to 'abuse' the list of pubs in this way. Additional information: page count could be interesting, maybe rough time of completion. In brief, it depends. vtc. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:26

3 Answers 3


While usually I don't like answering questions like this on MO, there is actually an important fact here specific to the mathematics community which would probably be missed on academia.stackexchange, or another non-mathematical site.

The answer to your 2) is:

There is no logic behind asking for separate publication lists for postdoctoral candidates. Job ads only ask for them because it is a default setting on MathJobs, and nobody bothers to uncheck the box. You can just copy whatever list of papers you put in your CV (and leave the list of papers in your CV) or you can add abstracts.

The question 1) is a bit more serious, and maybe better for academia.stackexchange. However, I would say that putting a paper on the arXiv is a serious signal that you think it is complete. To me, it means something.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd concur that putting something on arXiv is very serious, at least insofar as one risks embarrassment of various sorts if the thing is ridiculous or profoundly wrong, etc. In terms of arguable scientific progress, a paper coherently typed up and good enough so that the author is willing to stake their reputation on its public appearance has met some very important criteria. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2012 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ To Paul Garrett: do you think the employers will take the papers seriously if I refer to them in my cover letter as being enlisted under my homepage (and indeed put them in my homepage, but not on arXiv?) I do understand your point though, that putting paper on arXiv is MORE serious than putting on webpage, because I am willing to risk embarassment by doing so. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2012 at 18:02

Answer to 2): In my experience, I think an abstract is not appropriate in a list of publications.

Answer to 1): A submitted article that nobody can see is basically a non-existing article - the committee members do not even now whether it is a deep 300-page-essay or a 2-page-note. More generally, I believe that mentioning preprints or submitted articles in an applications is only somewhat intereting if the committee members can use these pieces of information to extract a pattern about your research, otherwise is not really useful, perhaps even dangerous ("this guy has posted his paper on XYZ in the arXiv in 2009 and in 2012 it has not yet been published, uhm").

Let me add that in the last few months the policies of Elsevier and Springer about arXiv have become explicitly supportive - see their home pages. This has been enough for me to convince all my co-authors to post our manuscripts in the arXiv - even those co-authors who would have been skeptical a few years ago. Besides, virtually all publishers allow self-archiving - I would be surprised if your coauthors would object even to your posting a joint paper on your own web page.

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    $\begingroup$ Since your answer was posted well after the respective edit, I do not get at all your last sentence; the papers are (or will be) apparently on OPs website. Also addressing 1) this should be taken into account. In addition the precise phrasing suggests other reasons than copyright-concerns for not wanting to post to the arXiv. (Incidentally, you yourself hint at a reason for not wanting to use arXiv; though it seems a different one.) [I have no intention to start an arXiv debate, and I use it actively; I merely wanted to point out that large parts of the answer do not relate to the question.] $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ Original Poster (the person asking the question, Analysis Now) said the papers are on her/his website anyway; so they are no matter what in principle accessible. So the question is not whether it is important that the paper is in principle available but only whether it is of specific relevance that the thing is on the arXiv. And, then I said that you hinted at a reason, namely that delay in publishing can get documented (more so than if you have things only on your personal page). Then some people just don't like the atXiv (eg as also cranks post there); I do not find ... $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ ... this a reasonable reason but it exists. Also, this might be closer to the reason in this case, if it is on the arXiv than it is a lot more visible than on a private webpage. If somebody in my field posts to the arXiv chances are I notice the paper instantly, if it is on their webpage then not. You assertion "I simply cannot understand what kind of extra permission from your colleagues you may need." Depends on the meaning of "need." If, say, a senior colleague explcitly or implictly expresses disaproval of (you) using the arXiv you might not want to do it even if you could. ... $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ Really, I do not understand what kind of information I am ignoring. Most of what you say sounds very reasonable, but in my opinion you are simply interpreting Analysis Now's vague description of his problem, just like I am doing. And just to be clear: he/she writes "My question is: how important is it to post my papers in arXiv." My first answer was, more or less: "Not quite important. Anyway, if the only reason for not arXiving is fear of copyright infringement, then you probably ought to know that [...]". I still have the impression that I have been sticking to his questions. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2012 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarfification. I read your answer 'stressed' differently than intended it seems. Sorry for my possibly overly impatient reaction. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 26, 2012 at 23:39

You should put the preprints on arxiv. This allows for other researchers to find your work, and to cite it. In extreme cases, it can take 2-3 years to get a a referee report after submission, and then perhaps another year before finally getting published. I am not kidding - I am speaking of personal experience. In this time-frame, you might write several follow-up papers based on this initial paper. In order to get a follow-up paper refereed, you more or less must have all works it relies on available.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that this is (IMO) good general advice about academic practice, but (a) this question is very old (b) it was asking something more specific about how preprints would be perceived/evaluated in the context of a job application. So I am not sure that your answer really addresses that. $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Apr 15, 2021 at 13:33

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