On Collaboration, Cooperation, and Competition in the Academy.
What to do? Collaborate and have more publications? Have a few less sole authored papers/chapters/books?
I qualify this post: I'm in social science. I'm also at a research-intensive university. Folks in psychology, sociology, and the like may find these behind-the-curtain musings at a research institution helpful. If you're in engineering, law, natural/life science, or at a teaching college, you're likely to march to a different tune, though here's what the fly on the wall observed in our closed-door discussions.
Social Science Likes Collaboration.
Find Your Own Voice.
Have Some Sole-Authored Publications.
Find Your Squad.
Tenure Is Not A Zero-Sum Game.
What I have learned is that tenure and promotion is not a zero-sum game. Just because your next-office-door colleague got tenure doesn't mean that you can't. The key is to have a diversified dossier which includes both collaborative and sole-authored works. It's also key to have support, collaborators, and advisors. If you have cool people to talk nerdy with, if you can delegate work and rotate responsibilities in collaborative endeavours, and if someone's there to share your wine/coffee/kombucha/tea, then the academic sandbox is a very fine place indeed.