Why do so many academics publish in unreadable outlets?

Progressive Geographies

Why do so many academics publish in unreadable outlets?

I don’t mean the prose style is unreadable (though it might be), but I’m thinking of the outlets they chose to publish in.

Obviously, I recognise that the ‘gold standard’ for many academics is the refereed journal article, and the majority of these journals, especially the ones that are ‘highly ranked’, are subscription-only. If you are working towards getting a job, tenure, promotion, research assessment and so on, you may need to publish in those kinds of outlets. Fine, this is a compromise between accessibility and recognised outlet.

I’m thinking of two other kinds of outputs.

First, authored and edited books. Why do so many academics continue to publish books which are hardback only, very expensive, often with poor production values, and so on? And, given the current trend for very short books (Briefs, Shorts, Forerunners, Swifts, Pivots, etc.) why do authors…

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