Reflection: “Why is Academic Writing so Academic?”

An interesting point the author, Joshua Rothman, of the “Why is Academic Writing so Academic?” article made is that while journalism is moving in a populist direction, academic writing is doing the opposite. Academics write their articles and papers with the mindset that only very small, select groups of people will read them. I have noticed that when I have read academic articles in the past that the targeted audience is specific. The method in which the material is discussed in academic writings is dry and concentrated. Typically, the author writes in such a way that he expects the reader to already have knowledge on the subject. Because of this, these academic writings fit into a small niche.

I think another reason why the audience reading academic writing has shrunk is because of how difficult it has become to access academic journals. Rothman attributes the exclusive nature of academic writing to the way the system that produces these writings is. I agree with him. He did not explicitly address this factor, but after reading “Students Can’t Access Essential Research” for a past reflection, I believe that if more people had access to academic journals, it would expand academic writing. Not only would students, professors, and other members of academia read academic writing if access to it was easier and more affordable, but people who simply have an interest in the topic would read it.



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