Book Discussing What Went Wrong in the Academic Model

26.08.2020
Editorial Note

A new thought-provoking book Academia: All the Lies, is published now in English by two academic authors from the University of Haifa, Dr. Tamar Almog and Prof. Oz Almog, a husband and wife team.  The book was first published in Hebrew last year.  

The authors have analyzed the system of higher education from various angles. They argue that the traditional university model has eroded, because, like other traditional models, it has been subjected to structural changes.   Although the crisis in academia is the focus of the academic community and has engendered endless papers, reports, and books on the issue, its actual dimensions and its dramatic consequences are hidden from most of the public, scientists, and professors. For the authors, academia is in deep denial, misleading itself and the public, and therefore finding it difficult to reach educated and courageous decisions.

According to the abstract, the book is an “X-ray of the academic ivory tower.” Since higher education has been initially a “successful method,” it has decayed over time. Instead, a “culture of lying, denial and fixation” has taken over the institutions across the globe. The book unfolds the “inflation of scientific publications,” which causes “decline in the quality, relevance and reliability of science; the degenerated and dated Quality Control of empirical research; the transformation of faculty members into submissive and worn-out employees in an outdated production line; the outrageous wasting of budgets and resources; the rankings obsession that drags governments and institutions into a whirlwind of self-deception; The cynical monopoly and unabashed greediness of scientific publishing corporations; the lack of professionalism in managing institutions; the exploitation and deception of adjunct lecturers and research students; the waning attractiveness of an academic career; the transformation of the humanities into a pile of politically correct mumbo jumbo; the devaluation of the academic degree; the stubborn adherence to antiquated teaching methods and missing out on the Internet revolution; the disconnect between the curricula and the needs of society and the job market; and the marketing and branding ploys that are used to lure young people to sign up for expired institutions and courses.” 
The book also offers solutions to the problems it raises to improve the academic system. 

More specifically, touching upon the IAM concerns, the authors argue that “The politization of social sciences has pulled the rug out from under the feet of the claim that they provide a general education. A large share of the public is of the view that for years now, humanitarian and social sciences courses have served an extreme and in-your-face pseudo-humanitarian political propaganda, which seeks to undermine the very foundations of society and should therefore not be propped up by public funds.”

Since post-modernist trends have taken over social sciences and humanities – causing the relaxation of the needs for empirical evidence – it is precisely that, according to the authors, “where there are no quantitative figures, a phenomenon can easily be exaggerated and manipulatively interpreted, especially when the researcher comes to the study with ideological agendas and motivations.” In fact, under the heading of “Rewriting History,” the authors argue that “With so much desire to correct and balance the historical narrative, reality has been ‘renovated,’ by hiding, denying, and fabricating facts as well as exaggerating them.”  

There are chapters and subchapters such as “Closed Political Club,” questioning, “Are Academics leftists?” And another, discussing “Anti-Semitism and Hatred of Israel as a Test Case,” which deals with anti-Semitism on campus and the ties to BDS. The authors argue that “Many ‘scientific’ conventions in the humanities are tainted with distinct political color, and exclude researchers who do not align themselves with the agenda… Israeli experts, Jewish and others, whose thesis does not correspond with the pro-Palestinian narrative (which is, incidentally, mostly made up of lies), are boycotted on many campuses, their lectures torpedoed, and they are greeted with hateful graffiti, threats, and occasionally even physical violence.” The chapter discusses Israeli Apartheid Week activities on US campuses. The authors noted that “Many faculty in Israel and around the world – especially in the liberal arts – have become significant activists in the industry of lies, whose goal it is to demonize Israel.”

The book has met with a barrage of criticism from academics, but most importantly, it is generating an important debate. 
The book Academia: All the Lies: What Went Wrong in the University Model and What Will Come in its Place, is free of charge on Amazon Kindle eBooks.

https://www.academia.edu/43903387/Academia_All_the_Lies_What_Went_Wrong_in_the_University_Model_and_What_Will_Come_in_Its_Place

Academia: All the Lies – What Went Wrong in the University Model and What Will Come in Its Place

Tamar Almog, Oz Almog
Published 2020
Youth Culture, Education Systems, alternative instruction

Publication Date: 2020
Academia: All the Lies is an X-ray of the academic ivory tower. It exposes the successful method, which has decayed over time, and the culture of lying, denial and fixation that has taken over institutions of higher education across the world. It unfolds the inflation of scientific publications, which results in an alarming decline in the quality, relevance and reliability of science; the degenerated and dated Quality Control of empirical research; the transformation of faculty members into submissive and worn-out employees in an outdated production line; the outrageous wasting of budgets and resources; the rankings obsession that drags governments and institutions into a whirlwind of self-deception; The cynical monopoly and unabashed greediness of scientific publishing corporations; the lack of professionalism in managing institutions; the exploitation and deception of adjunct lecturers and research students; the waning attractiveness of an academic career; the transformation of the humanities into a pile of politically correct mumbo jumbo; the devaluation of the academic degree; the stubborn adherence to antiquated teaching methods and missing out on the Internet revolution; the disconnect between the curricula and the needs of society and the job market; and the marketing and branding ploys that are used to lure young people to sign up for expired institutions and courses. But this book is not just a depressing snapshot of stagnated intellectual elite, which shuts its eyes in the face of changing times and betrays its social mission. Alongside the harsh criticism, Tamar and Oz Almog propose a course of recalculation and transition to a fresh model of research and education, tailored to the 21st century. The COVID-19 crisis, which is shaking and will continue to rattle the education and science systems, will shortly make the prophetic prediction of the Almog’s a reality – in which everything we have known to date about education and science will change dramatically. “Academia: all the Lies,” which was first published in Israel and elicited widespread public discourse, is a must-read for future students and their parents, employers, media, and policymakers. It is also a must-read for anyone who is engaged in science and education or dreams of a career in the field.

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments xiii
1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
2 Survival at All Costs: The Economic Crisis ……………………………………………… 6
The Tectonic Rift of 2008 ……………………………………………………………………………6
End of the Age of Abundance …………………………………………………………………….7
Limiting the Privileges of the Aristocracy …………………………………………………..11
You’ll Approve Mine and I’ll Approve Yours ………………………………………………15
Two Are Fewer Than One …………………………………………………………………………18
Professional Mishmash ……………………………………………………………………………..21
Donors Close Their Wallets ………………………………………………………………………24
The Dubious Honor of Honorary Degrees …………………………………………………30
The Deceptive Demand for Higher Education …………………………………………..32
Higher Education for All …………………………………………………………………….32
Tuition Fees Increase More and More ………………………………………………….35
The Growing Burden of Subsidization …………………………………………………38
The Heavy Shadow of the Mountain of Debt ……………………………………………..39
A Temporary Lifeline from China ……………………………………………………………..42
The Exploited Workforce of Academia ………………………………………………………48
A Bottomless Barrel of Pension Debts ………………………………………………………..57
How Much Is Eureka Worth—And to Whom ……………………………………………..61
Clinging to the Foundation ………………………………………………………………………66
Sources of Funding for Scientific Research …………………………………………..66
The Race to the Research Budget ………………………………………………………..69
When Money Talks – Academia suffers …………………………………………………70
Flaws in the Traditional Financing Model …………………………………………….74
Out-of-the-Box Ideas …………………………………………………………………………..81
“Crowdfunding” in the Service of Science …………………………………………….83
Industry Takes the Crown …………………………………………………………………………88
Research Collaborations ……………………………………………………………………..88
Relationship Issues ……………………………………………………………………………..90
3 An Avalanche of Papers: The Crisis of Scientific Publishing …………………….. 97
A Scientist’s Workday ………………………………………………………………………………..97
The Scientific Journal ……………………………………………………………………………..102
The Industry of Science ………………………………………………………………………….105
The Hidden (and Rising) Bar ………………………………………………………………….108
Publish or Perish …………………………………………………………………………………….113
Struggling to Keep Up the Pace ………………………………………………………………121
The Poll-Itis Epidemic …………………………………………………………………………….126
Junk Science …………………………………………………………………………………………..132
Texts Without Readers ………………………………………………………………………132
More Quantity, Less Quality ………………………………………………………………133
A Leg Up from Musk …………………………………………………………………………137
Deceit in the Name of Truth ……………………………………………………………………139
A Breach of Trust ………………………………………………………………………………139
What’s Yours Is Mine …………………………………………………………………………141
Unraveling the Knot of Silence ……………………………………………………………….142
Half-Hearted Confessions ………………………………………………………………….142
You Can’t Get the Same Results Twice ………………………………………………..144
Positive Results Only …………………………………………………………………………145
Take It Back ……………………………………………………………………………………..146
And Yet—Denial ……………………………………………………………………………….148
The Black Market of Scientific Publishing ………………………………………………..151
A Mirror Up to Science …………………………………………………………………………..156
Fake Conferences, Too ……………………………………………………………………………158
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know……………………………………….158
Too Good to Pass Up …………………………………………………………………………161
The Hypocrisy of the Rich …………………………………………………………………162
Slowing Down the Rat Race …………………………………………………………………….166
4 The Great Science Robbery: The Crisis of Access ………………………………….170
Maxwell’s Magic Formula ………………………………………………………………………..170
The Reign of the Publishers ……………………………………………………………………175
The Crisis of the Academic Libraries ……………………………………………………….177
Open Access Publishing, Ltd. ………………………………………………………………….180
The Disappointing “Academic Spring” …………………………………………………….185
“Robin Hoods” In the Name of Access ……………………………………………………..188
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em – Buy ‘Em ……………………………………………………………..191
Towards the Triumph of Fairness and Reason …………………………………………..1955 Archaic Peer Review: The Quality Assurance Crisis ………………………………..206
Is Truth Dead? ………………………………………………………………………………………..206
The Scientific Review Mechanism ……………………………………………………………207
Trial by Friends …………………………………………………………………………………207
Behind the Scenes …………………………………………………………………………….210
Who Wants to Be a Reviewer? …………………………………………………………….211
The March of Anguish ………………………………………………………………………213
Criticizing the Critics ………………………………………………………………………………218
The “Lesser of Two Evils” Trap ………………………………………………………………..238
The Solution Right Under Their Noses ……………………………………………………245
The Pre-print Path …………………………………………………………………………….245
Open Platforms for Scientific Discussion ……………………………………………247
The Convention-Shattering Encyclopedia of the Masses ………………………248
Science 2.0: End of the Reign of Journals …………………………………………..253
6 The Measurement Madness: The Rating Crisis ………………………………………261
Can we grade scientific products? Should we? ………………………………………….261
Tell Me Where You Published, and I Will Tell You What
Kind of Scientist You Are …………………………………………………………………..265
The Reference Criteria ……………………………………………………………………..265
Influence and Quality – Is That So? ……………………………………………………266
Everything for a Good Place on the Charts ………………………………………………277
Phony Protests and Reservations ……………………………………………………………..279
The Spotlight is Pointed at the Scientists ………………………………………………….281
Another Kind of Statistical Madness …………………………………………………..281
More Indices, More Problems ……………………………………………………………283
Continuing to Market a Defective Product ………………………………………….288
Which is the Best University? …………………………………………………………………..289
The American League ……………………………………………………………………….289
The Shanghai Surprise ………………………………………………………………………291
Experts at the Crown’s Service …………………………………………………………..293
A Formula Filled with Flaws, Mistakes, and Misdirections …………………….295
Flavor Enhancers for Spoiled Food …………………………………………………….307
The Trap of the Governmental Budgeting Model……………………………………..308
The Statistical Tables Have Turned ………………………………………………………….313
7 To a Lesser Degree: The Crisis of Higher Education ………………………………317
Cracks in the Myth ………………………………………………………………………………….317Depreciation of the Degree …………………………………………………………………….318
Degree Inflation ……………………………………………………………………………….318
An Expired Entrance Pass ………………………………………………………………….323
Diminishing Returns …………………………………………………………………………325
Not Ready for the Job Market …………………………………………………………….327
With Narrow Horizons ………………………………………………………………………329
The Deserted Campus Quads …………………………………………………………….336
Wasteful Subsidization …………………………………………………………………………….337
A Worn-Out Model of Instruction ……………………………………………………………341
Here but Not Hear ……………………………………………………………………………343
A Buffet-Style Learning Menu ……………………………………………………………347
Too Long, Didn’t Read It …………………………………………………………………..348
The Professor Has No Clothes …………………………………………………………..349
The Student is Always Right …………………………………………………………………….356
Re-Setting Expectations …………………………………………………………………….356
Shaming Disobedient Professors ………………………………………………………..358
Fast-Degree ………………………………………………………………………………………360
Same Old Bess in a New Dress ……………………………………………………………361
Honors Students Only ……………………………………………………………………….362
Can’t Stop the (Online) Course ………………………………………………………………370
Correspondence Learning …………………………………………………………………370
A New World of Screens …………………………………………………………………….371
Technological Improvements in the Classroom …………………………………..372
Let’s Share ……………………………………………………………………………………….374
From Dozens to Millions ……………………………………………………………………376
An “Exit” for Educational Initiatives …………………………………………………..377
The Year of the MOOC ……………………………………………………………………..378
No Longer a Marginal Phenomenon ………………………………………………….382
The Profit Dilemma ………………………………………………………………………….386
The Feedback Dilemma …………………………………………………………………….389
The Dropout Dilemma ……………………………………………………………………..390
Cut the Bullshit …………………………………………………………………………………393
The End of the Beginning …………………………………………………………………394
The Path to the Post-Academic Era ………………………………………………………….398
Studies Without Borders ……………………………………………………………………398
Fast Track to Employment …………………………………………………………………400
From Training to Job Placement ………………………………………………………..403
A Playlist of Certifications ………………………………………………………………….406
It Doesn’t Matter Where You Studied …………………………………………………407A Free Market of Education ………………………………………………………………408
Co-Learning Spaces …………………………………………………………………………..414
It’s OK Not to Go to College ……………………………………………………………..416
8 Liberating the Arts: The Crisis of the Humanities ………………………………….420
It’s Harder for the Soft Sciences ………………………………………………………………420
The Diminution of the American Mind ……………………………………………………423
A Cry of Bloody Murder Born of Denial …………………………………………………..424
Why Did Students Stop Showing Up? ………………………………………………………434
A World Without Truth …………………………………………………………………………..439
Is Everything Relative? ………………………………………………………………………441
The Critical Science Oxymoron …………………………………………………………446
The Identity Ball ……………………………………………………………………………….454
A Flawed Correctness ………………………………………………………………………..456
Closed Political Club ………………………………………………………………………………459
Are academics leftists? ……………………………………………………………………….459
Intolerance in the Temple of Pluralism ………………………………………………466
Anti-Semitism and Hatred of Israel as a Test Case ……………………………….468
The Boundaries of Academic Discussion …………………………………………….474
The Cumulative Image Damage from Radicalism ……………………………….478
Do the Humanities Have a Right to Exist in Their Current Format? ………….482
9 The Lost Paradise: The Crisis of the Academic Career ……………………………489
Falling in Love with Academia …………………………………………………………………489
The Illusion of Discovery ………………………………………………………………………..491
The Illusion of a Job ……………………………………………………………………………….492
Advanced Studies ……………………………………………………………………………..492
Between Student and Advisor …………………………………………………………….494
The Thesis and Its Review ………………………………………………………………….495
Is It Worth the Effort? ……………………………………………………………………….497
Why Are Moths Attracted to the Flame? ……………………………………………..504
The Social Price of the Surplus of Doctoral Students …………………………..505
The Illusion of Stability …………………………………………………………………………..507
All or Nothing …………………………………………………………………………………..507
Abolishing Tenure …………………………………………………………………………….511
The Illusion of Sabbatical Leave ………………………………………………………………513
The Illusion of Wages ……………………………………………………………………………..515
The Illusion of Promotion ………………………………………………………………………518Non-Hierarchical Hierarchy ………………………………………………………………518
The Bureaucracy of Rank ………………………………………………………………….520
Donning Wigs, Raising Eyebrows, and Arguing Over Nothing ……………..522
Professional Bribery, Intrigue and Shady deals ……………………………………534
The Illusion of Gender Equality ………………………………………………………………536
The Feminist Revolution Gears Down ………………………………………………..536
Hidden Gaps …………………………………………………………………………………….538
Research is Fun. Kids—Not as Much ………………………………………………….542
The Illusion of Peace of Mind …………………………………………………………………544
The Illusion of Reputation ………………………………………………………………………547
The Future of the Academic Career …………………………………………………………549
10 The End of the Age of Academia: A General Diagnosis and Prognosis ………551
The Lies and Denial ……………………………………………………………………………….551
On the Verge of Financial Bankruptcy ……………………………………………………..552
On the Verge of Moral Bankruptcy ………………………………………………………….555
On the Verge of Scientific Bankruptcy ……………………………………………………..556
On the Verge of Managerial Bankruptcy ………………………………………………….557
On the Verge of Educational Bankruptcy …………………………………………………558
Scientific Research in Academia—Trends and Recommendations …………….560
Publicly Owned, Not Privately Owned, Scientific Publications ……………..560
Mass Review, Not Judgment by the Few ………………………………………………561
Rankings Based on the Book, Not the Cover ………………………………………563
Self-Evident Greatness, Not Obsolete Status Symbols …………………………..563
Higher Education—Trends and Recommendations ………………………………….564
Zoom Out to Online Courses (Amid the Coronavirus Crisis) ………………564
Many Courses from Many Sources ……………………………………………………..570
Wallet-of-Expertise, Not Broad Academic Degree ……………………………….572
Subsidizing Learners, Not Institutions ………………………………………………..573
Autonomous Learners, Not Patronizing Teachers ……………………………….575
Getting Practical Education, Not A Symbolic Diploma ………………………..576
A Real Discussion of Core Curriculum, Not Loose and
Sloppy General Education ……………………………………………………………577
Learning Spaces Around Town, Not a Closed Campus ………………………..578
Intermediate Guide for the Perplexed ……………………………………………….578
Tearing Down the University Conglomerate …………………………………………….579
Separating the Professor from the Scientist ………………………………………..579
Separating Teaching from Evaluation …………………………………………………581
The Next Generation of Science ………………………………………………………..582A Market for Education and a Market for Research …………………………….582
An Updated Model for Science Funding …………………………………………….586
Reinforcing Basic Research ……………………………………………………………….587
The Crisis in Academia as an Expression of the Crisis in American Culture ..589
Point of No Return …………………………………………………………………………………591
Endnotes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..597

Introduction

Landscape-altering shockwaves are a feature not only of nature, but are also found in
human society. The source of the powerful energy propelling them is nearly always
the bursting on the scene of a new technology which dwarfs whatever came before. It
rapidly changes entrenched social patterns, and leads us to a crossroads characterized
by a mixture of desperation and hope, conservatism and innovation, passivity and activity
– and especially instability and uncertainty. Charles Dickens best described such
sociological circumstances in his classic historical novel “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859):
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the
age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was
the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the
winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us”.1
Bizarrely, almost mystically, the Hebrew edition of this book came out about a
week before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. While the publisher’s PR department
was distributing copies to the media, most Israeli citizens were placed under
home quarantine and bookstores, like nearly all other establishments, remained
deserted. The book could, of course, be delivered or purchased in digital versions,
but by this stage no one was thinking of buying anything other than food, medicine
or toilet paper.
But what was initially perceived as a bad case of the author’s curse quickly
turned into a blessing in disguise, or more accurately, a reinforcement of thebook’s thesis on academia. It promptly became apparent that the forced quarantine,
which kept millions in their homes and forced them to increase their use of
digital media, was about to become a particle accelerator for the accessibility and
flexibility which is revolutionizing how we are provided service, how we work, and
how we study. In fact, everything we had predicted for the future of science and
higher education now seems on the brink of fulfillment, and at a much faster pace
than we expected.
The fact that institutions of higher education were forced to turn around and
immediately make the switch to online studies turned the spotlight on our book. It
was covered extensively by Israeli media and, despite the impaired market, quickly
became a bestseller.
In mid-May, we were invited by the Council of Higher Education in Israel to give
an online lecture on the book to the directors of all organizations devoted to the
advancement of teaching in Israeli institutions. A short while later, the Universities
of Tel Aviv and Haifa held an online panel on the book and the changes expected in
academia following the coronavirus crisis. The Haifa panel included a Nobel Prize
winner in Chemistry, the president of a technological college, and one of the most
prominent authors in Israel, who is also a professor in the humanities. While we
were writing a book on the fall of academia, never in our wildest dreams would we
have expected that the book would be received by way of webinars attended by hundreds—
gatherings at which no one would need any convincing that we are entering
a new era for science and education.
Academia—named after the Athenian hero Academus—was born in ancient
Greece as a meeting point for lectures (historians unanimously agree that this is
where Plato spoke with his students), but only in the 17th century did the ancient
term turn into a common phrase among European scholars. With time, it became
a generalizing synonym for the mechanisms of science and higher education in the
modern age.
The development of academia from ancient times until today is a fascinating
evolutionary story, encompassing continents, nations and cultures. It is a relay race
of the human spirit which has launched humanity towards immense achievements.
But success is not invulnerable, and that which has worked in the past will not necessarily
work in the future—especially when a substitute is found.
Few in our day are able to imagine a world without institutions of higher education,
but remember that in the not-so-distant past, no one could imagine soldiers
without swords, farmers without horses, or mail without paper.
People are able to comprehend and digest small changes in their lives, but find
it difficult to accept the idea that even those basic and established arrangementswhich they have always taken for granted will one day disappear. Universities are
somewhat taken for granted by many of us.
We live in a time that has seen a rapid rise in the percentage of academics among
the general population, a consistent improvement in quality of life and lifespan, and
an explosion of innovations and inventions. It seems that science is more successful
than ever, and that higher education is blossoming. But this picture is misleading.
Global academia is in the throes of its broadest crisis yet. It is an economic, intellectual,
organizational, moral, and educational crisis, and it is not a malfunction or
some kind of temporary failure. The traditional university model, with roots in the
Middle Ages, is in advanced stages of erosion and is sending off distress signals because
it, like other traditional models in our times, is being subjected to structural
changes. We are in the midst of a period of immense change, in which the old is no
longer suitable and a substitute, born of dynamics of friction, is in its infancy.
Although the crisis in higher education is the focus of conversation in the academic
community, and has engendered an endless array of papers, reports and
books on the issue, its true dimensions and its dramatic consequences are hidden
from most of the public, and in truth, from most of the world’s scientists and professors
as well. Academia is still deep in denial, misleading itself and the public, and is
therefore finding it difficult to understand the true nature of things, and to reach
educated and resolute decisions.
The purpose of this book is to put the puzzle pieces together to form a panoramic
overview of the state of higher education worldwide. However, this is not
only a critical essay, meant to open eyes to the dawning of a new era, but also an optimistic
projection, and in some ways, a recommendation for a rejuvenating model
of research and education suitable for the 21st century.
The human race is fast approaching a historical turning point in which the academic
bubble will be burst wide open, institutions of higher education will lose their
monopoly, and a scientific career will look much different than it does now.
Before we get into the thick of things, we must emphasize a few points for our
readers:
 This book deals with the most common and prominent phenomena in academia
around the world, especially in leading scientific countries, and not
with the nuances which uniquely characterize each nation and institution.
 The many footnotes and endnotes woven throughout the book include not
only references for the data and insights contained in the text, but also professional
literature meant to expand the reader’s view. In this sense, thebook also serves as a collection of important sources for any discussion of
the current and future state of academia.
 Our book is fairly expansive compared to standard nonfiction (and we apologize
to our readers for that), but it’s not that, to paraphrase the great Mark
Twain, we would write you a shorter book but we didn’t have the time. In
fact, it is just the opposite. After a research and writing process which took
up three years, we tried to summarize as much as we could for our readers
the complex landscape of a complex system in a complex time. Each chapter
deals with a different aspect of the academic ecosystem, and an omission
of any one of these would have caused us to stray further from the goal.
Furthermore, because there is a sort of grave “indictment” here, we felt compelled
to anchor it in as wide a range as possible of evidence, and to present
arguments from different angles.
But there is another reason for the expansiveness of the text. Most of
the public—including a large proportion of scientists—is not familiar, or
only partially familiar, with the meandering mechanism of global academia.
The creaks in the old system cannot be comprehended, nor can the necessity
of changing the system, without first understanding its basic principles.
Therefore, we devoted more than a few pages in each chapter for an overview
of this kind. This book is thus also an ethnographic document for those
interested in the behind-the-scenes workings of academia.
 The comprehensive overview we have put together is based on thousands
of sources: papers, books, surveys, reports, informational websites, discussion
platforms, and blogs. In order to get a sense of the field and hone our
insights, we have interviewed 212 academics of various levels of seniority and
from a number of countries: Israel, the United States, England, Scotland,
Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Japan and
Taiwan. Most of those interviewed requested that they remain anonymous,
and we therefore decided not to use any names. Here we must note: the
fear held by many faculty members, including senior academics, of exposing
themselves is a symptom of the grim state of academia. We hope that
a time will come in which scientists and lecturers will feel safe to freely express
themselves regarding any and all problems and difficulties in their
workplace.
During our visits to campuses around the world, we also spoke with
many students, who added insights from the point of view of those doing
the studying. We compounded these observations with those collected a few
years earlier during our research on Generation Y in Israel. This study of theyounger generation, published in 2016, made waves and stirred a wide-ranging
debate among the general public, as well as in academia (the English
version of the book was published in 2019).2
For us, this book was a grueling and complicated journey. We made an effort to base
our diagnosis and prognosis on as wide an infrastructure as possible of data (which
was not always available or complete), but nothing is over yet. Naturally, some errors,
inaccuracies, and omissions were committed. We would be grateful for any
comments and additions by readers, and we will do our best to include these in the
next edition. Either way, we see the book as fertile ground for a debate on an issue
whose significance to society, and to all of humanity, is hard to underestimate.
A personal note in conclusion: we feel very lucky that we have gotten the opportunity
to be citizens in a democratic country which encourages critical debate, and
to work at a scientific institution which allows free research. But by the same token,
we are heartbroken that in the current state of global academia, it is highly doubtful
that younger researchers, without a tenured position and under pressure to publish
as fast as they can, would dare take such a project upon themselves. We hope our
book contributes to changing this reality.

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