Outstanding Professors/Researchers in the Humanities Face Unique Challenges

The USCIS citation-based approach for evaluating EB-1 Outstanding Professors/Researchers in scientific and technology fields puts humanities professionals at a huge disadvantage

For all EB-1s, once the professor/researcher  has met the initial burden of proving two out of the required six criteria for the first Part of the claim of international recognition, the evidence must then demonstrate its “outstandingness” based on the totality of all submitted evidence under Part 2 of the proof, a la Kazarian. In other words, proving the requisite number of criteria, such as academic publications, only gets your foot in the door. USCIS then looks at those publications to determine their impact on the field to make a final qualitative assessment. And this is where citation counting has become the preferred short cut means of evaluating impact on the field.

Without citations, USCIS will discount the publications claiming no impact on the field. Citations as a measure of value of publications within academia is even discredited for science let alone the humanities. Within the humanities, scholars publish less because publication takes longer, is more difficult and because scholarly articles in the humanities tend to be longer. More importantly, scholars don’t rely on each other’s “findings” the way it is done in the sciences, and therefore they don’t cite each other’s work in the same way.

How is the scholar in the humanities supposed to overcome this hurdle without the entire Outstanding Professor/Researcher category being reserved only for the sciences?  This citations issue recently came up in our office in the form of a Notice of Intent to Deny. Our response included not just expert opinions from humanities editors at the major academic presses, but also an outline of all the other ways the scholar’s record of achievement demonstrated impact on the field including showing how book chapters and articles were part of graduate school syllabi at major universities.

Despite the USCIS reliance on counting citations, a test they conjured up out of thin air which is NOT part of any law or regulation, it is possible to make your proof of impact on the field by looking outside the box, presenting your evidence and making the argument. We cannot let USCIS keep out scholars in the humanities by using irrelevant and unsubstantiated screening tools such as number of citations.

Article categories: NIW/EB-1/Outstanding Researchers and Professors

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