International Journal of Academic Research and Development

International Journal of Academic Research and Development


International Journal of Academic Research and Development
International Journal of Academic Research and Development
Vol. 4, Issue 2 (2019)

Beneath and beyond the slogan “Publish or Perish”


Dr. Tom Mokua Kabage

This paper critically looks at the slogan of ‘publish or perish’ which was coined in the field of academia to warn academicians of the dangers of not publishing regularly. This phrase puts pressure on academicians and scholars to publish regularly in order to remain relevant in the field of academia and to sustain their career progression. The question has always been and still remains relevant; is publication what we need in order for us to witness sustainable development? Should publication of research findings and other reviewed discourses on topical issues be viewed as an end to itself? The paper discusses the aptness of the slogan of ‘publish or perish’ and the role of publication in the dissemination of knowledge to facilitate development, the negative impact of overemphasizing on publications by academic staff on quality of research, publication and development and how we can go beyond research and publications to spur growth and development in society. Publication which is advocated by the slogan ‘publish or perish’ is beneficial in a number of ways: It is one of the best ways of disseminating knowledge, published works lives longer than unpublished works, published work benefits the whole society in all spheres of life, it uplifts the academic status of the scholar and institution of affiliation and the spirit of research and publication has been boosted through the slogan. Overemphasis on publications through the slogan has led to a number of negative impacts in research and publication such as; cooked up research and publication, laying more emphasis on publication and not research, ‘professional hangers on’ in publications, much time devoted on publications while putting less time in teaching, supervision, mentorship and community service, salami slicing, emergency of predatory journals, plagiarism, ghost authors and low quality research and publication among others. The paper concludes that if the current scenario continues, quality research and publication will be a thing of the past and a lot needs to be done to improve the quality of research and publication in universities by putting up appropriate measures to improve the quality of research and publication. Universities should also devise ways of making sure that the published works are further disseminated to increase their impact on societal growth and development. The paper also discusses a number of intervention measures to improve and go beyond mere publication which include the following: There should be a synergy between publishers, authors, universities and industry, use of different ways and forum to further disseminate the published work, ensuring that respondents and participating institutions are first beneficiaries of the researched and published work, universities providing conducive environment and the necessary support necessary for quality research and publication and facilitation of activities beyond publication, Placing more weight on the quality of publication other than the quantity and invigorating the whole professional life of the scholars and not just reducing them to agents of publication.
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