2014-06-13

Tenure and academic productivity

Though five years have already passed since I received tenure at the university where I started working ten years ago, I still remember how difficult it was, especially pscychologically, to continue working for tenure. But I also remember that this struggle had at least one advantage - it enhanced my academic productivity, at least quantitatively, if not qualitatively. If I measure it quantitatively in terms of the number of peer-reviewed publications, I was far more productive before I received tenure, especially in the last two years, than afterwards. I'm not trying to be lazy, but things are not the same.

Besides, probably just by coincidence, something unexpected has also happened after I got tenured - to my (pleasant) surprise, I have started receiving invitations to contribute entries and chapters to international encyclopedias and handbooks on those areas in which the editors somehow thought I am one of the world authorities-shauthorities. Actually, I also used to receive such invitations from Japan before getting tenured, but now I also receive them from the English-speaking world.

Of course, receiving such invitations is a great privilege and honor for me, and I'll continue accepting them if I receive any in the future. But on the other hand, they are by nature more like summaries of what is already studied and known and/or what I myself have already done, and they have prevented me from preparing peer-reviewed journal articles.

While continuing to write these encyclopedia entries and handbook chapters, I feel I also have to find time and an incentive to keep my academic productivity, at least quantitatively, by continuing to publish peer-reviewed journal articles; such an incentive must be a positive alternative to the negative psychological pressure I was under for five years before getting tenured. If someone out there knows such a positive alternaive from his or her own experience or from other fellow researchers, please share it with me; I'll be eternally indebted to you (sorry for my Jewish hyperbole).