The mechanisms by which research findings are disseminated and gain influence are changing. Yet the metrics by which we assess scholarly contribution are lodged in the past, particularly among universities and research institutions in Asia. Looking ahead, the rapid pace of growth in economic research in this region affords an opening to move smartly to new ways of sharing work and recognizing achievement.
Larry Summers put his finger on the transformation in a talk at the Peterson Institute (7:18): “Keynes has a famous line about everything that policymakers say or do is a reflection of a defunct academic scribbler … now everything that a policymaker does is from a blog or a substack ….” Blog posts get a researcher’s message out in succinct form, available at the click of a link and transmissable at lightening speed through social media. Of course, serious research requires more than the thousand or so words of a blog post to fully articulate. The blog post then serves as a promotional vehicle. All the same, in the internet age the full length article need be no less accessible or transmissable than the blog post. Why, then, are most research articles locked behind paywalls erected by corporate publishers, with "staggeringly profitable" Elsevier in particular able to dominate the field? The answer has a lot to do with how universities and research institutions measure and reward accomplishment, allowing profit-oriented corporations to set the terms.