What purpose are peer-reviewed journals if nobody reads them? According to Biswas and Kirchherr (2015), less than 20 percent of peer-reviewed articles are even cited, much less read. If less than 20 percent of these articles aren’t even used to support the arguments of others, then why are more than 80 percent even being written? It certainly isn’t for the benefit of educating the masses. As Biswas and Kirchherr (2015) point out, the language used in these articles are too difficult for many practitioners and journalists. Furthermore, the articles are too long, even for government leaders and decision-makers (Biswas & Kirchherr, 2015). These factors would certainly rule out the average citizen.
“We know of no senior policy-maker, or senior business leader who ever reads any peer-reviewed papers, even in recognized journals like Nature, Science or The Lancet” (Biswas & Kirchherr, 2015). If policy makers and government are not willing to read these articles, then it is imperative that average citizens read them. No matter how thorough, unbiased, or thought-provoking is the research being reported, if the average citizen can’t or won’t read the article, the time spent on the research is of no use to society. Society doesn’t change because of a collection of peer-reviewed articles.
I believe that the time has come to value the work that is actually being read, and not just count the number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Biswas and Kirchherr (2015) also believe that the number of published articles should not be used to determine the success of an academic. Academia needs to re-assess its purpose and ensure that value is given to those that have an effect on public consciousness.
Biswas, A., & Kirchherr, J. (2015, April 9). Citations are not enough: Academic promotion panels must take into account a scholar’s presence in popular media. [Web log post].