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Policy-Relevant Publications and Tenure Decisions in International Relations

  • Daniel Maliniak (a1), Susan Peterson (a2) and Michael J. Tierney (a3)

Abstract

Many observers of the international relations (IR) discipline express concern about the decline in policy-relevant research within the academy. Some blame an academic culture and academic institutions that incentivize abstract, quantitative, or theoretical work that speaks to scholarly debates rather than real-world problems. This article asks how IR scholars value both scholarly and policy publications. Using data from the TRIP survey, we found that publications generally considered policy relevant are undervalued in academic tenure decisions. These findings hold regardless of whether faculty have attained tenure or whether they consider their own research to be policy relevant. However, scholars who consult, teach at colleges rather than research universities, or teach in Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs schools rather than political science departments are likely to believe: (1) that policy-relevant research products are currently valued more highly than their colleagues estimate; and (2) on the normative question, that these policy publications should be valued even more highly than they are. Overall, these results suggest an openness to increasing the value of policy-relevant research in tenure decisions as part of an effort to increase the amount of policy-focused work in the discipline.

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Copyright

References

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