Colleges and universities are meant to be bastions of learning and knowledge. Students should be gaining knowledge and skills during their time at college. However, if the professors are so caught up in the publish-or-perish culture at most universities, will this affect the students? Yes. Let’s have a look at potential benefits and problems connected with this culture in modern universities and colleges.
Simply stated, if a professor wants to publish, he or she will have to do a lot of good research with valid instruments and will need to be able to show well-analyzed results. This is a lot of work! So students can benefit by being included in the real-world research and analysis that these professors must do. This work is hands-on and usually requires a person to master several analytical skills, along with computer and testing skills. It would also help a person learn to think critically, which is a vital skill in this world. Finally, a student who is involved in working with their professor would also likely be mentioned as a co-author on the published work, increasing that student’s academic credentials.
The disadvantages of this publish or perish culture are, for the most part, immediately obvious. Firstly, not every student will be able to work with a professor. I have spent years in higher education and the most research assistants I have ever seen one professor work with was four. And this was in a chemistry lab. This means that those students not involved in the professor’s work will be short shrifted and will be left out. Furthermore, with the professor’s attention on his or her own work, the quality of their classes will decrease noticeably. And with the pressure to publish in order to get and retain tenure, this will become the focus.
So in summary, there are conceivable advantages to the publish or perish culture for a few college/university students, but the disadvantages outweigh them. Class quality decreases, and the professor’s attention is not focused on the students, but rather solely on their career.