The Recent Publications widget is a widget that gets added to the unused widget gallery if you have the Publication App enabled. Learn how to enable the Publication App.
This widget is technically a List of Post widget that is pre-configured to highlight publications.
You can opt to change the Display Style (options: Full Content, Title, Teaser & Slide Teaser) and well as how you want the publications to be Sorted By (options: Year of Publication, Newest Post, Oldest Post, Alphabetical & Random). Additionally, you can make other change. See example below.