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Publish or Perish

Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences

Imad A. Moosa

Imad Moosa’s thought-provoking book explores the contemporary doctrine that plagues the academic sphere: the principle of publish or perish. This book identifies the pressures placed upon academics to either publish their work regularly, or suffer the consequences, including lack of promotion, or even redundancy.
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Chapter 8: Journal ranking schemes

Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences

Imad A. Moosa

Extract

Journal ranking lists may be constructed by government bodies (such as the Australian Research Council), joint ventures (such as the Australian Business Deans Council and the British Chartered Association of Business Schools), as well as societies, universities and even departments within universities. The construction of these lists is costly while they are potentially harmful. Three explanations can be put forward for why the production of journal ranking lists is a thriving industry, despite the problems associated with these lists: (1) the administration of journal lists and the pressure put on academics to comply create jobs for people who would otherwise have no jobs; (2) it is easier to check each item against a list to reach the conclusion that the output is good or bad, than evaluating research output on its own merits by reading the material; and (3) any harmful enterprise has its own beneficiaries who want to maintain the status quo.

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