Aveek has penned a lengthy objection:
However obscure an issue is, it is worth discussing as log as somebody else, anybody else, is interested in it. The second is that apparently dull and narrow research can actually enhance what we might think of more worthwhile and consequential research, by sparking off new ideas, or being synthesised together.
It might still be asked how scholars can find work that interests them in this mountain of work, and this is indeed a problem. But there are mechanisms – the tiered pyramid of academic journals means that following the higher prestige journals should ensure you read the things of greatest general interest. Keyword searches and citations from fellow scholars can also help.
I’m a bit puzzled by the assumption that just because academics are asked to write a lot, they must be lacking for things to say. I find this particularly odd coming from Jacob, who is an intimidatingly prolific blogger. Academics, almost by definition, are people who have ideas. Usually lots of them. Not all of them are good, but it’s not always possible to tell how good an idea is until it is released into the world. I think that’s an experience most bloggers can relate to. So if Jacob can share four or five ideas a week on his blog, why does he feel unable to share four or five ideas a year in academic papers? It is the same impulse behind each – the same desire to throw ideas out into the world and see if they attract interest or provoke discussion. If it’s good enough for bloggers, why not academics?
Final thoughts from me on this topic later. For now, I’m going to pull myself away from vacuous live-blogs on Benedict and get some work done.