Academic Promotion Speed and Academic Promotion Age Matter: The Young and the Fast are Substantially More Productive than The Old and the Slow

Academic Promotion Speed and Academic Promotion Age Matter: The Young and the Fast are Substantially More Productive than The Old and the Slow

We examined a large population of Polish science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) scientists (N = 16,083) to study rank advancement and productivity. We used two previously neglected time dimensions - promotion age and promotion speed - to construct individual biographical profiles and publication profiles. We used a classificatory approach and the new methodological approach of journal prestige-normalized productivity. All scientists were allocated to different productivity, promotion age, and promotion speed classes (top 20%, middle 60%, and bottom 20%). The patterns were consistent across all disciplines: scientists in young promotion age classes (and fast promotion speed classes) in the past were currently the most productive. In contrast, scientists in old promotion age classes (and slow promotion speed classes) in the past were currently the least productive. In the three largest disciplines, the young-old promotion age productivity differential for associate professors was 100-200% (150-200% for full professors); and the fast-slow promotion speed productivity differential for associate professors was 80-150% (100-170% for full professors). Our results were confirmed by a regression analysis in which we found odds ratio estimates of membership in top productivity classes. We combined data collected from the national register of all Polish scientists and scholars (N = 99,935) and publication metadata on all Polish articles indexed in Scopus (N = 935,167).

Keywords: Academic profession; academic career; academic faculty; research productivity; rank advancement; academic promotion; time in rank; regression analysis; quantitative science studies; Poland; longitudinal study; productivity classes; classificatory approach; Scopus dataset.

Article link:
M. Kwiek, W. Roszka (2023). "The Young and the Old, the Fast and the Slow: Age, Productivity, and Rank Advancement of 16,000 STEMM University Professors". ArXiv reprint available from:
Regions: Europe, Poland
Keywords: Applied science, Policy - applied science, Public Dialogue - applied science, Science, Public Dialogue - science, Science Policy


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