Magazine
Latest Issue

The word mountain

Academic life is being crushed by the weight of unwanted articles and books that the new productivity assessment systems require. Noel Malcolm proposes a reform based on agricultural "set-aside"

What is the greatest threat to academic life today? Most university teachers asked this question will start talking about cutbacks and underspending. They are wrong. The greatest threat is overproduction. A tide of unnecessary publications is rising through our universities and libraries; it is threatening to drown real intellectual life, and nobody knows how to stop it.

This year more than 80,000 new books will be published in this country. In the US, the figure will be more than 160,000. Not all of these are academic, but academic publishing is where the rise in quantity is matched most startlingly by…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect