Archivists Serve Historians? A Case of Academic Hubris

In early August, archivists and other scholars erupted in protest when the American Historical Association (AHA) wrote a letter asking broad questions about how archives plan to reopen. The AHA framed its letter as an effort to advocate for professional historians and countless other researchers who were without access to most physical archives throughout the … Continue reading “Archivists Serve Historians? A Case of Academic Hubris”


An Innovative Solution to the Failures of Peer Review

Academics are growing wary of the peer review process amid mounting evidence that it is compromised by ideological biases and that it does not effectively or reliably ensure the quality of published research. Further, it is increasingly evident that the academic publishing industry’s primary reason for being is not to disseminate new knowledge to the … Continue reading “An Innovative Solution to the Failures of Peer Review”


Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard”

I recently submitted a manuscript to an education journal, a review essay of another scholar’s work. It opened with a compliment of the author’s “highly-praised and influential work.” To that statement, one reviewer of my manuscript asserted that I used “emotionally loaded language of incredulity, dismissiveness, and hyperbole.” More “tone policing” comments riddled the review, … Continue reading “Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard””


Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More

Former Harvard president Derek Bok has long lamented that our institutions of higher education largely underperform in their missions. He has now written another book making that argument. His Higher Expectations is a coolly rational analysis of what needs to be done to improve American undergraduate education. He uses as his frame a study by … Continue reading “Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More”


Security Concerns with China Limiting Student Learning

The college campus has become a battleground between the United States and China. Donations, research funding, and international students give colleges a much-needed financial and enrollment boost, but the connection to the Chinese government can also threaten academic freedom and, on some occasions, national security. Fundamentally, universities exist to serve students and the public interest, … Continue reading “Security Concerns with China Limiting Student Learning”


Why Universities Should Not Be Anti-Racist

During the last year, many universities throughout North America have declared “anti-racism” to be their official policy. Consider this sample of quotations. “We must ask how Princeton can address systemic racism in the world, and we must also ask how to address it within our own community.” —Christopher L. Eisgruber, president, Princeton University. “The University … Continue reading “Why Universities Should Not Be Anti-Racist”


The Campaign to Stamp Out Academic Heresy

Back in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, church officials felt it necessary to scrutinize every book or pamphlet for the slightest hint of heresy. If the work deviated from doctrine, it would be banned, burned, and the author could be punished. The Enlightenment brought a change in attitude toward freedom of speech. In Britain, … Continue reading “The Campaign to Stamp Out Academic Heresy”


True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship

There’s a chasm between the purpose of a liberal arts education and how many colleges and universities actually operate. Throughout academia, excessive value is placed on efficiency, research publications, and prestige—things that are, at best, ancillary to a liberal education’s central purpose of growing in wisdom and pursuing truth. Consequently, instead of focusing on nurturing … Continue reading “True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship”


University Researchers Search for Solutions to Coronavirus Pandemic

Here at the Martin Center, we often criticize university research. Rightly so. We have noted that academic journals are too expensive. We’ve argued that the publishing process itself is incoherent and slow. And that the peer review process fails to adequately vet new research. We’ve shown that the funding process for scientific research often leads … Continue reading “University Researchers Search for Solutions to Coronavirus Pandemic”


The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research

For most of the past century, the United States was the pre-eminent nation in science and technology. The evidence for that is beyond dispute: Since 1901, American researchers have won more Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, and physics than any other nation. Given our history of discovery, innovation, and success, it is not surprising that … Continue reading “The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research”