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Why do most academic publications not broaden knowledge?

1 reply, 2 voices Last updated by Joe Hoffman 3 years, 4 months ago
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    • #27889

      Steve McCarty

      In 2020 I am starting a Medium series Ask a Japanologist at Anecdotes of Academia based at Universiti Sains [Science] Malaysia. The first entry is a brief manifesto “Academic publications should broaden knowledge: Motivation to publish should be intrinsic, not extrinsic, to the writer” with some beautiful photos of Kyoto. Future installments could also be about the academic life, or in my cluster of specialties: e-learning/online education, Asian Studies/Japan, bilingualism and language teaching.

      This topic was also posted in: Open Educational Resources.
    • #27973

      Joe Hoffman

      There is a facile pessimistic answer, but everyone already thought of it so I’ll give the optimistic answer instead.

      This is a temporary condition, caused by the tremendous expansion of productive capacity in the world’s economy.  Because so few of us are needed to grow food and build houses now, we have a lot more scholars than we used to, and we can explore questions so specialized that only three people care about them. (The researcher, their major professor, and Reviewer 1.) Soon, though, reading academic publications will primarily be the job of Artificial Intelligences. They’ll be the numerous readers we all currently wish we had.

      The next generation of researchers will work with an AI at their sides that has complete familiarity with all related research. Finding the lacunae in our understanding, filling them from other fields, and developing a higher level of abstraction will become possible. Asking the over-arching questions that the manifesto describes will be the primary job of all researchers (not just us Old Ones) as soon as it’s no longer necessary to spend three decades coming up to speed.

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