June 21, 2012 1

Academic papers today are not meant to be discussion forums

By in Blog, e-Science, Opinion, Writing

This excellent post covers why academic publishing is obsolete. TL;DR:

1. The time lag is huge; it’s measured in months, or even years.

2. Most academic publications are inaccessible outside universities.

3. Virtually no one reads most academic publications.

4. It’s very unusual to make successful philosophical arguments in paper form.
5. Papers don’t have prestige outside a narrow subset of society.
6. Getting people to read papers is difficult.

7. Academia selects for conformity.

8. Papers have a tradition of violating the bottom line rule.

9. Academic moderation is both very strict and badly run.

Of course, one could argue that Academic papers today are not meant to be discussion forums. Still, blogging, continuous deployment, etc. make academic publishing feel archaic.

I’m writing something on why github could be a good model, I’ll publish it soon.


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One Response to “Academic papers today are not meant to be discussion forums”

  1. [...] Tom McCabe explains “Why Academic Papers Are a Terrible Discussion Forum”: I won’t try to argue that papers aren’t worth publishing. There are many reasons to publish papers – prestige in certain communities and promises to grant agencies, for instance – and I haven’t looked at them all in detail. However, I think there is a conclusive case that as a discussion forum – a way for ideas to be read by other people, evaluated, spread, criticized, and built on – academic papers fail. (Via Jose Quesada) [...]

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