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Candidates for professorial posts and higher intermediary staff positions are assessed on the basis of their scientific dossier and a certain number of criteria commonly acknowledged in academic circles as being those of « scientific excellence ».
In order to fulfil the criteria of excellence, researchers are required to develop their scientific dossier throughout their career by engaging in activities in the following four fields.
Research lies at the heart of the scientific dossier. Publications play a central role in the evaluation of a candidate’s research activities.
Although the quantity of publications is important, it is above all the prestige of the journals in which candidates have published that is taken into account in the assessment (peer-reviewed journals or not, national or international journals). Despite the criticism they arouse, bibliometric and scientometric instruments are increasingly used to measure the importance of a journal.
There are different classifications of journals according to field. The best known of these instruments is the impact factor. Calculated by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), a private company, it measures the average frequency with which all articles in a journal are cited over a given period of time. The quantitative indicator is used as a reference in various disciplines. Because of the virtual US monopoly of such instruments, Anglo-Saxon journals are generally the most highly rated. Therefore, publishing and presenting your research results in English has become an essential condition for pursuing an academic career. In addition, single-track scientific dossiers are increasingly frowned upon. The field of research of candidates must include a variety of topics and interdisciplinarity is an asset.
When applying for professorial posts, teaching is evaluated on the basis of a trial lesson before an audience of peers and students and a dossier showing details of all university courses taught. The ability to certify teaching activities is a real plus when applying for a professorial post. It is therefore advisable to take every opportunity to give courses or conduct a seminar during the doctoral period.
The national and international network
The existence of a large scientific network through which candidates can raise the profile of their research beyond the institution in which they are applying for a post is a major criterion. Therefore, even if it is not always explicitly mentioned, much store is set by geographical mobility. Candidates must generally demonstrate that they have spent time at another university, if possible a well-known one, which has resulted in postdoctoral research leading to publications.
Integration within the faculty and university and aptitude for management and the acquisition of third-party funds
Involvement in faculty life, administrative and team management skills and the ability to collaborate with other members of the university community are other qualities expected of candidates. Success in obtaining external funding is also a decisive criterion for obtaining a post.