This article examines the role of publications as evidence for university promotion and postulates reasons why the academic "publish or perish" rule applies. A systematic approach to evaluation of an academic's publication portfolio is described. The approach uses a four-step process for evaluating each publication:

1. Ranking of journal where article appeared or classification of book

2. Ranking of quality/impact

3. Evaluating effect of coauthors

4. Evaluating effect of multiple publication of same basic material

Following the individual item evaluation, there is an overall evaluation of the publication portfolio for mix of articles and for rate of output. A method is suggested for applying this procedure in evaluating one's own portfolio and developing a personal publication strategy for promotion.