Anna Blanch has a very helpful post today on why Christian scholars should seek to publish their research and writing. As she points out:
It makes sense to be involved in the intellectual conversation – to engage with the latest research and much debated issues – but the pressure can feel almost overwhelming, especially in the early part of one’s career.
Despite this occasionally overwhelming feeling, she draws on an earlier post by Ross McKenzie to argue that we should pursue publication for at least three reasons.
- You should publish for the Church. As academics, we are called on to serve the church and make sure that our research meets the needs of the church. I think we do need to be careful here that we don’t understand this too narrowly. It will often be difficult to see how one particular research project has a direct bearing on the life of the church. But, the overall direction of your research/writing should have a more noticeable connection.
- You should publish for your Institution. Publishing your work helps to raise the profile of the institution and it helps sharpen you as a teacher and supervisor. It’s easy to forget at times that those of us working for academic institutions are actually writing on their dime. At the very least, then, we should keep institutional needs in mind in the process.
- You should publish for You. She identifies three things here: (a) it helps you stay intellectually vital; (b) it keeps you critically engaged with a broader community of learners; and (c) it’s good for job security. Several of her comments here sounded like some of the same reasons that Billy and Brian have given recently for why they blog.
You should definitely read Anna’s entire post. She has a number of other good thoughts that I haven’t covered, as well as a couple of other posts on the academic life that are worth reading:
- Is there anything new under the sun?: Originality in academic writing and publication.
- 10 Things We Wish Someone had Told us When We Started Graduate School