Are Academic Papers Worthless?
Start writing a post

Are Academic Papers Worthless?

What are all of these smart people doing with their time?

Are Academic Papers Worthless?

I love research. I think it is one of the most interesting things human beings can do, and it has the potential for unbelievable findings. On the other hand, most research goes with out receiving a single citation. An article from the Los Angeles Times is quoted as saying "Some 98% of articles in the arts and humanities and 75% in the social sciences are never cited. Things are not much better in the hard sciences--there, 25% of articles are never cited and the average number of cites even of those is one or two." (1). But why is this the case? Why are some of the smartest people slaving away on something with so little benefit?

One thing to consider is that these statistics are incorrect. There is a saying that statistics lie, and liars use statistics. In this instance, these statistics were gleaned from a 30-year-old book that was attempting to discredit the work of academics. Another factor we should consider is whether the metric of using citations to judge the quality of research is valid. This is a topic of heated debate among academic circles. While using citations as a metric of research quality is common practice, it is by no means the best way to judge that quality. One proposed solution is to use a method known as triangulation. From a high level, triangulation means comparing a wide body of research to test for patterns throughout. However, this will also mean that research that does not produce positive results will need to be considered. This is arguably the biggest problem with research quality today, because many academics feel pressure to produce positive results to achieve tenure or to get published. Unfortunately, this pressure affects the results and the quality. Not all research has positive results, this is simply a truth.

While the problem with research is easy to diagnose, it is much harder to solve. Aside from triangulation, there have not been many proposed solutions to these challenges. Another possible solution is to privatize research (as most is done in universities) however this will not guarantee quality. It has also been proposed that universities focus more on teaching their students and produce less research but higher quality. This seems valid to me, yet again, it will prove immensely difficult to persuade universities to change their entire business model. Ultimately, these problems will require a great deal of resources and focus to solve. It will not be one group or institution to solve the research replicability crisis (as it is commonly called). It will require buy in from a wide variety of governments, corporations, institutions and more to succeed. One possible solution would be a non-profit organization that is tailored to solve this problem. If it is a nonprofit, it should not have any conflicts of interest, and thus will have more universal credibility. Another solution might be a privatized company. However, private research firms will undoubtedly run universities out of business, and this could lead to a whole host of other problems.

1. Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7720. (n.d.). doi: 10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments