# Forum Mathematics Sigma and Pi - have they been successful?

1. Top Mathematician
dzni
[...]

Well, an obvious problem is that recommendation letters are even more biased than publications. The tone of any letter would strongly depend on personal connections, friendliness, field preferences, etc, of the author. You should just accept that there is no way to objectively linearly order researchers, no matter whether you use journals, letters, or any other approach.

What you can demand is diversity in letter writers. If the candidate has friendly connections with several communities (i.e. in different countries and/or in closely related fields) then some of the bias goes away.

And if some has an Annals paper but cannot get a strong letter writer outside of their country to vouch for them, then it negates the Annals..

1 weekdzni
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2. Top Mathematician
awvu
[...]

What you can demand is diversity in letter writers. If the candidate has friendly connections with several communities (i.e. in different countries and/or in closely related fields) then some of the bias goes away.

And if some has an Annals paper but cannot get a strong letter writer outside of their country to vouch for them, then it negates the Annals..

This is silly, why is it okay for an American to have all letter writers based in the US? Most likely they are US citizens, so the fact that all letter writes are Chinese should make a difference? This is racists

1 weekawvu
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3. Top Mathematician
wwof
[...]

And if some has an Annals paper but cannot get a strong letter writer outside of their country to vouch for them, then it negates the Annals..

This is silly, why is it okay for an American to have all letter writers based in the US? Most likely they are US citizens, so the fact that all letter writes are Chinese should make a difference? This is racists

Its not about which country you are citizen of. Rather which country your letter writers are based/ which community 'they represent'. There is a notion of 'American academia', 'French academia'. There is clear names in my field who I would associate with France or US or China (they don't have to have the corresponding nationality).

1 weekwwof
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4. Top Mathematician
lcpk
[...]

This is silly, why is it okay for an American to have all letter writers based in the US? Most likely they are US citizens, so the fact that all letter writes are Chinese should make a difference? This is racists

Its not about which country you are citizen of. Rather which country your letter writers are based/ which community 'they represent'. There is a notion of 'American academia', 'French academia'. There is clear names in my field who I would associate with France or US or China (they don't have to have the corresponding nationality).

So for the US job Market it's better to have letters from US based people? this is also silly, like people in the US think less of experts in Europe/China/Australia/UK/wherever?

1 weeklcpk
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5. Top Mathematician
jfnj
[...]

Its not about which country you are citizen of. Rather which country your letter writers are based/ which community 'they represent'. There is a notion of 'American academia', 'French academia'. There is clear names in my field who I would associate with France or US or China (they don't have to have the corresponding nationality).

So for the US job Market it's better to have letters from US based people? this is also silly, like people in the US think less of experts in Europe/China/Australia/UK/wherever?

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

1 weekjfnj
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6. Top Mathematician
awvu
[...]

So for the US job Market it's better to have letters from US based people? this is also silly, like people in the US think less of experts in Europe/China/Australia/UK/wherever?

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

It seems that this standard doesn't apply when you have US based letter writers though

1 weekawvu
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7. Top Mathematician
awvu
[...]

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

It seems that this standard doesn't apply when you have US based letter writers though

Just look around you

1 weekawvu
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8. Top Mathematician
hsfb
[...]

So for the US job Market it's better to have letters from US based people? this is also silly, like people in the US think less of experts in Europe/China/Australia/UK/wherever?

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

Do you make this argument against a candidate when the letter writers are all in American academia as well?

1 weekhsfb
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9. Top Mathematician
eith
[...]

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

Do you make this argument against a candidate when the letter writers are all in American academia as well?

Yes.

1 weekeith
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10. Top Mathematician
eith
[...]

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

It seems that this standard doesn't apply when you have US based letter writers though

Why do you say this? In any case, standards are not universal. But since people were judging candidates by journals names...well...you can't a great paper if only US based people can write positively about it, can you? It signals that you got your paper through connections. That's not a negative. But it's definitely better (and I believe you deserved your paper) if multiple (often competing) communities share the positive opinion.

1 weekeith
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11. Top Mathematician
ugup

One should get the broadest sample of quality mathematicians possible: hence all writers should be American.

1 weekugup
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12. Top Mathematician
heii
[...]

It seems that this standard doesn't apply when you have US based letter writers though

Why do you say this? In any case, standards are not universal. But since people were judging candidates by journals names...well...you can't a great paper if only US based people can write positively about it, can you? It signals that you got your paper through connections. That's not a negative. But it's definitely better (and I believe you deserved your paper) if multiple (often competing) communities share the positive opinion.

It is more like whether the hiring committee knows the names of the writers over which community the writers from, although the latter does plays a role if the members hate that person.

1 weekheii
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13. Top Mathematician
ucre

Do the majority of MJR posters have attention deficit disorder? Why do more than half of threads veer horribly off topic, to discussion that has nothing to do with the original thread?

1 weekucre
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14. Top Mathematician
dokk

Do the majority of MJR posters have attention deficit disorder? Why do more than half of threads veer horribly off topic, to discussion that has nothing to do with the original thread?

What does your comment have to do with shoes or ships or sealing wax? Or even Forum Mathematics Sigma and Pi?

1 weekdokk
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15. Top Mathematician
vfee
[...]

The opposite. In my opinion you should have writers from multiple communities. Not only one.

Do you make this argument against a candidate when the letter writers are all in American academia as well?

American academia is big enough to not be all a single community unlike in smaller countries. But if the letter writers are all from the same part of American academia then yes, that can be a problem.

1 weekvfee
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16. Top Mathematician
uklu
[...]

Why do you say this? In any case, standards are not universal. But since people were judging candidates by journals names...well...you can't a great paper if only US based people can write positively about it, can you? It signals that you got your paper through connections. That's not a negative. But it's definitely better (and I believe you deserved your paper) if multiple (often competing) communities share the positive opinion.

It is more like whether the hiring committee knows the names of the writers over which community the writers from, although the latter does plays a role if the members hate that person.

And it's more likely they'll know someone based in America

1 weekuklu
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17. Top Mathematician
uklu
[...]

Do you make this argument against a candidate when the letter writers are all in American academia as well?

American academia is big enough to not be all a single community unlike in smaller countries. But if the letter writers are all from the same part of American academia then yes, that can be a problem.

Will you make this argument if all of them were from MIT, Harvard and Princeton?

1 weekuklu
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18. Top Mathematician
lwks
[...]

American academia is big enough to not be all a single community unlike in smaller countries. But if the letter writers are all from the same part of American academia then yes, that can be a problem.

Will you make this argument if all of them were from MIT, Harvard and Princeton?

I would especially then. Maybe I am special.

1 weeklwks
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19. Top Mathematician
lwks
[...]

Will you make this argument if all of them were from MIT, Harvard and Princeton?

I would especially then. Maybe I am special.

That is because you could always have added another famous letter writer more from outside. Why didn't you?

1 weeklwks
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20. Top Mathematician
emqm
[...]

Do you make this argument against a candidate when the letter writers are all in American academia as well?

American academia is big enough to not be all a single community unlike in smaller countries. But if the letter writers are all from the same part of American academia then yes, that can be a problem.

I can agree with the principle that you should have letter writers who transcend mathematical cliques. But the phrasing of the other poster, in terms of national mathematical communities smacked as unnecessarily parochial.

1 weekemqm
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