, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 1289–1310 | Cite as

The publication trajectory of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and new professors in psychology

  • Christopher ZouEmail author
  • Julia Tsui
  • Jordan B. Peterson


Each year as the number of graduate students in psychology increases, there is also increased competition for academic positions. The general consensus is that there is higher pressure for students to publish prolifically, yet there is little information as to what this exactly means. The main aim of the present study was to examine the average publication trajectory of a psychology student advancing to a post-doctoral fellowship to a faculty position. We obtained curricula vitae from graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty members from 2010 to 2015 in addition to self-reports from the graduate students. The number of publications substantially increased with each step of progression: graduate students published on average 2.89 (self-report) to 3.08 (CV report) papers, post-doctoral fellows on average published 8.06 papers, and junior professors on average had 14.30 publications before they were hired. The same pattern was observed even when restricting the number of publications to only those that were first-authored. However, a slightly different pattern emerged when comparing a scientometric index (zp-index) that takes into account both the quantity and quality of publications.


Publications Graduate students Higher education Professorship Psychology Research productivity 



First and foremost, we would like to thank the numerous research assistants in the Peterson Lab for investing countless hours into collecting and coding CVs. In particular, we would like to thank Kenny Xiong and Hank Ko for going and above and beyond their duties to complete the coding process. Second, we would like to thank Xiaowen Xu, Sabrina Thai, Jessica Maxwell, Kate Guan, Dimitry Besson, and Christian Poole for their helpful comments on prior versions of the manuscript. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers for their contributions in improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Zou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julia Tsui
    • 1
  • Jordan B. Peterson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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