By Stuart Macdonald
We recently received a request from an academic whose book review was awaiting publication in Prometheus. A colleague had told him that Prometheus is a critical journal. As the academic’s annual output was being assessed by his university, he thought he had better withdraw his review – and did. Academics have become accustomed to the carrots offered in return for approved behaviour, basically agreeing with everyone else. Rewards come in the form of easier publication in journals with high impact factors, as bonuses and promotion recognizing this publication success, as ready citation in other papers which also have nothing new to say, and as research resources awarded to explore yet again what is already known. Such carrots can be very considerable both in themselves and in their contribution to intellectual decay. But when the system passes from carrot to stick, punishing those who say anything contentious, a line is crossed; we journey from preferring to publish what brings seductive returns to burning books. It is said that only pet rabbits eat carrots: wild rabbits won’t touch them.
Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation
Volume 37, Issue 4