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Sean Illing
Academia has needlessly marginalized itself. And it’s a goddamn shame. And it’s NOT the fault of professors.
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
Counterpoint: actually academic research is more accessible than ever, and it is increasingly acceptable or indeed encouraged for academics to write op-eds and other public explanations of their work. The main problem is private ownership of publishing venues.
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Sean Illing Dec 20
You're apparently hearing very different things from academics than I am (I've been out of the academy for almost 3 years now). In any case, I still think the incentives in academia push academics into specialization and obscurity, not towards writing op-eds.
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Victor Asal Dec 20
Very very much so
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Sean Illing Dec 20
But you're 100 percent right about private ownership of public venues -- that's a HUGE problem.
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
Hmm. Within days of my last publication, wrote me to ask for an op-ed summarising it. And I have had no problem placing op-eds in the Toronto Star
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Sean Illing Dec 20
Yes, but will those op-eds mean anything in your tenure package?
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Victor Asal Dec 20
So I believe that the issue is not that op-eds are frowned upon but non-academic publications do nothing at most places for tenure or promotion- it is the incentive structure
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Victor Asal Dec 20
You and I had the same thought
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Sean Illing Dec 20
This is precisely what I was getting at. Incentives are everything, and nearly all of them push against public engagement.
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
I'm not sure, but I'm not worried about tenure once I get a job that offers it. It's just finding the job and I do think the op-eds will help with that.
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Sean Illing Dec 20
I don't mean this in a snarky way at all, but hang around in the academy for a few more years and let me know what you think then.
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Victor Asal Dec 20
there are places where that is true
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
Dunno man, I've been in it 7 years now, teaching and publishing. I've a raft of well placed articles and my book is under review at a great press. Maybe I actually know, broadly, about my own situation and prospects?
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Sean Illing Dec 20
Can't speak to your particular situation, I can just tell you that I've worked with and interviewed a ton of high profile, tenured academics in the last two years and what I'm hearing from you is not at all what I'm hearing from them.
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
Maybe you should talk to more early career scholars or those at non-US institutions?
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Sean Illing Dec 20
Oh I have, mostly off the record. I was in that exact position not too long ago, and still keep in touch with a lot of my colleagues. No point in debating this any more here. I'm encouraged by your experience, and hope you'll capitalize on it. We need more public-facing scholars!
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Simon Frankel Pratt Dec 20
I'll do my best, and I mean, it's possible my experience has been unusual even if encouraging
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(((Lukas Kawerau))) Dec 26
Replying to @seanilling
Totally agree! I wrote a bit about an alternative here:
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