COMMENT | The recent revelation that Malaysian academics rank amongst the highest in the world for publishing in predatory journals has raised questions about the academic landscape in the country. Predatory journals are for-profit enterprises that manipulate the journal indexing systems and allow an easy (and lucrative) pathway for substandard academics who desperately need to publish.
These journals feed into the insatiable drive of universities in developing countries to rise up the rankings through academic output in indexed journals. Such universities make it compulsory for their academics to publish journal articles regularly to maintain their key performance indicators (KPI) which is key to academic career progression.
While this may be news to the public, it has always been known to those of us in academic circles. When our academic institutions prioritise university rankings rather than worthwhile academic output, this is the logical conclusion; universities only measure the number of indexed publications rather than impact on society.
As young academics, this poses a dangerous dilemma to us as we are forced to engage in such ruthless behaviour to maintain our KPIs or risk our academic futures by focusing on more groundbreaking research.
This KPI-driven environment is but the tip of the iceberg in what is a systemic issue that is permeating all of Malaysian academic society. From the educational foundations to how tertiary education is structured, all academic study in Malaysia has a teleological goal in mind: the commodification of academic study.
We have been noticing two major trends in Malaysian academia ...