Quality trumps Quantity: Establishing Judging Criterion in EB-1B Petitions
Yongbing Zhang, Esq.
In priority workers petitions filed by outstanding researchers and scientists, judging the work of others in the field is one of the six evidentiary criteria designated by the regulations and has been extensively used by scholars in their petitions. This article will analyze the Administrative Appeal Office’s (AAO) recent decisions in researchers and scientists’ petitions, and provide some efficient ways for scholars to prove this criterion.
The relevant regulations state the following on this criterion:
Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.
USCIS adopts a broad view of what is included in the work of others. For the academic field, scientific papers or articles are the typical example of the work of others. Manuscripts and abstracts also count. In one decision, AAO has even recognized that serving as one of the jurors at a graduate student poster presentation qualifies as judging the work of others. Sometimes, foreign scholars may satisfy this criterion by showing his or her role played at national or international conferences. For example, AAO admitted that evaluating and then selecting abstracts for the session would likely constitute judging the work of others, whereas reviewing the abstracts to familiarize one’s self with their content, preparing topics/questions for a dialogue, and driving a discussion probably would not. In another decision, AAO found the foreign scholar’s being elected as the chairperson of the annual conference hosted by a pre-eminent organization to help organize the Climatology and Modelling section of the annual meeting constitutes judging the work of others.
To establish this category, extensive documentation is required. The most reliable kind of evidence is a letter from the journal’s editorial board, preferably on the journal’s official letterhead, verifying that the foreign scholar actually provided services of review or judging. Email messages inviting foreign scholars to review manuscripts, articles, papers or abstracts will only work if coupled with other evidence showing the review or judge actually occurred. These can include emails confirming receipt of the review, or thanking the foreign scholar for the review. Thus documents indicating the journals only requested the foreign scholars to review papers are not enough to satisfy the criterion. Neither are the agreements entered into by the foreign scholars to review papers. In summary, the foreign scholar must present evidence to show that he or she actually reviewed or judged the work of others.
Simply establishing the basic requirements of this criterion does not necessarily mean that the foreign national is a scholar with international distinction. According to AAO, peer review is routine in the scientific community, so not every researcher who performs the services of review enjoys international recognition. The foreign scholar must present evidence that sets her or himself apart from others in the field, such as completion of numerous manuscript reviews for a substantial number of distinguished journals or serving in an editorial position for a distinguished journal as a judge of the work of others.
After the petition has met sufficient evidentiary criteria under the regulations, a final merits determination will be conducted by evaluating all the evidence presented to determine whether the foreign scholar is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic area.
At the final merits determination stage, documentation that shows the international distinction, circulation or pre-eminence of the journals whose articles the foreign scholar has reviewed or whose editorial board includes the foreign scholar will enhance the chance of approval of the petition.
AAO has repeatedly dismissed petitions where the foreign scholar had only completed a single review of the work of others. Even for those foreign scholars who had performed the review of a decent amount of papers, the quality of the journals is given more weight than the quantity of the manuscripts reviewed. Thus, foreign scholars should include such documentary evidence as journal rankings, citation metrics, or impact factor statistics showing the international reputation of the journals, in addition to the evidence of basic requirements. For those scholars who serve on the editorial board, evidence regarding the process of selecting such board members should also be included.
September 17, 2016
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杰出教研申请在达到了规定的基本证据的数量要求后，移民局根据法律要求必须对申请做出最终优异评判(Final Merits Determination)来决定这个外国学者在学术领域是不是国际知名。
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