Paper $12.95 ISBN: 9780972819657 Published May 2004

Enemies of Promise

Publishing, Perishing, and the Eclipse of Scholarship

Lindsay Waters

Enemies of Promise

Lindsay Waters

Distributed for Prickly Paradigm Press

104 pages | 4-1/2 x 7 | © 2004
Paper $12.95 ISBN: 9780972819657 Published May 2004
Why should books drive the academic hierarchy? This controversial question posed by Lindsay Waters ignited fierce debate in the academy and its presses, as he warned that the "publish or perish" dictum was breaking down the academic system in the United States. Waters hones his argument in this pamphlet with a new set of questions that challenge the previously unassailable link between publishing and tenure.

As one of the most important and innovative editors in the humanities and social sciences, Waters has long witnessed the self-destruction occurring in the academic world because of the pressure to publish. Drawing upon his years of experience, he reveals how this principle is destroying the quality of educational institutions and the ideals of higher learning. It is time for scholars to rise up, Waters argues, and reclaim the governance of their institutions.
Review Quotes
Luc Sante | Luc Sante
"Eye-opening, deeply troubling, eloquent, and compelling."
Bill Marx | WBUR Boston Public Radio
"Enemies of Promise is a humdinger about the crisis in academic publishing, where the ’publish or perish’ imperative has created towers of books that no one reads, even the professoriate. Author Lindsay Waters . . . paints an alarming picture of a bloated assembly line fueled by careerism and dedicated to mediocrity."
Russell Jacoby | New York Times
"With great vigor, Enemies of Promise takes on the commericalization of the university generally and publishing specifically."
Andrew Robinson | Times Higher Education Supplement
"Waters has done the world of ideas a service in writing about its infrastructure frankly, thoughtfully, and for the most part, readably . . . I recommend it to every academic, including scientists."
Sir Frank Kermode
"Waters gives pained and expert attention to a major crisis in higher education. It is relevant not only to scholarly practise but to the conduct of academic publishers. The enemy is large and menacing, but the fight is a noble one."
Andreas Hess | Irish Times

"A thought-provoking study of a different kind."


"Lindsay Waters, executive editor for the Humanities at Harvard University Press, has issued a challenge to academics and publishers: to publish less, with more relevance. . . . Waters criticizes the ’publish-or-perish’ mentality that has produced an avalanche of books of little or no importance."

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