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Evaluating Scholarly Publications for Tenure and Promotion: Qualitative Measures

This guide will help you find evidence of the value of your publications to use in your FAR.

Consult with your department head

You are limited only by your imagination in qualitative justification. However, work with your department head to make sure that your primary evaluator agrees with your methods of evaluation.

Journal Rankings

Scholars and individuals create ranks of journals in terms of importance and quality of journals in a particular field. These ranks depend on the criteria of the author so take that into account when using lists like these. 

Finding a ranked list of journals

  • Search the primary databases in your field
    • Use the library's research guides to find the databases relevant to your discipline.
  • Professional organization web sites
    • Be aware of organizational bias, especially if they list all their publications as the most important in the field.

Magazines for Libraries

This reference book describes the top journals and magazines in many different subject areas. Use the reviews as evidence of the importance of a particular journal or magazine.  Reviews may also be found online through the Ulrich's database.  Search Ulrichs for your journal title, then select the "Reviews" section of the journal entry.

Book Reviews

Book reviews are excellent sources of evidence of the quality of your book or book chapter. These generally appear anywhere from the time of publication to about a year after publication depending on the publisher. Using excerpts from reviews can be found by searching the primary databases for your field and using the word review. Some databases have a publication type of review that can also be used to narrow your search down to reviews. You can also search the Library and Information Sciences and Technology Abstracts database for reviews. This database indexes Choice and Booklist which are publications of reviews that librarians use to help determine what to buy. The reviews in these sources are typically short and evaluative.


Reputations of editors and publishers can be used as evidence of the quality of your work for books; however these reputations must be explained so those outside your field will understand the reputation and how that reputation reflects your work.

Editor's reputation

You can use reviews of other works with the same editor as your work if that review discusses the reputation of the editor. Their reputation may also be evidenced in biographical works. Don't make the review committee take your word that the editor is prestigious if you want to use that person's reputation as evidence of the quality of your work, but give the committee some outside evidence of the editor's influence.

Publisher's reputation

Publisher reputation can be a difficult thing to document. Book reviews of books published by the publisher can sometimes include statements about the publisher and these statements can be used. Also, professional associations will sometimes list the "best" publishers for their profession and that can be used as documentation as well. Academic presses speak for themselves to a certain extent but you will want to make sure that you document the review process that your manuscript went through.

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