External Review for Promotion and Tenure · 19
for promotion, compared with this survey’s results
of 31% and 43% respectively. (1996, p. 370)
Schlozman researched the external review
process of political science faculty from the point
of view of full professors who completed the re-
views. She found that faculty spent an average of
10.6 hours on reviews of candidates for tenure and
nine hours on candidates for promotion, compared
to the estimate of 5.9 hours in this survey. (1998,
p. 624) It would be interesting to survey library
faculty directly to see if the estimates from those
who have completed external reviews are closer
to those estimated by the political science faculty.
Schlozman also found that the burden of complet-
ing external reviews was shared very unevenly in
her profession. This may be true in academic librar-
ies, too, since at eleven of the responding institu-
tions reviewers complete fewer than five evalua-
tions a year while at three they complete more than
None of the literature found on external reviews
discussed cost estimates for the process and no one
requiring external reviews in this survey is track-
ing the cost, either. The estimate of the cost of an
external review is very rough and only takes into
account the time spent by the faculty performing
the reviews. Perhaps the dollar cost of the process
is not as critical as ensuring that good decisions on
promotion and tenure are being made, though. As
one survey respondent noted, “Money spent on
getting a tenure decision correct is money very well
This survey begins to describe the external re-
view process in research libraries and points to
areas where more research could be undertaken.
Additional research could attempt to more accu-
rately estimate the costs of personnel and resources
for portfolio preparation, identify best practices,
and answer questions such as: What is the success
rate for candidates who undergo external review?
How does the success rate relate to the rigorous-
ness of the process? What are the privacy issues?
Do all promotions require external review or only
those to specific ranks?
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