9.3 Don't expect significant citations for early career academics

Although one can certainly expect applicants for a prestigious named Chair position to have had an impact on their field, it is not reasonable to expect academics at lower levels to show strong citations records. This is certainly true for tenure cases, but even for promotion applications within the first 5-10 years of ones academic career.

Especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities, citations are not a very meaningful measure of research performance until someone has been publishing for at least a decade (and even then disciplinary differences should be noted, see Section 9.4). In these disciplines, the publication process is generally much more drawn-out than in the Sciences with multiple rounds of revisions that can take years. Even accepted publications can take 1-2 years to finally appear in print.

Therefore, if someone with a relatively brief academic career has gathered a substantial number of citations, this person should be commended for displaying exceptional distinction in this area. However, if someone does not display a strong citation record, this should not bias your evaluation of their research performance.