Most people have probably heard the term “publish or perish” as it’s applied to academic research. That is, if you want to progress in your career – graduate student to postdoctoral fellow; early career to mid-career to senior scientist – one of the objective indicators of ‘success’ is the quantity and quality of research papers you publish in academic and professional journals. These metrics aren’t perfect; while quantity is straight-forward addition, assessing quality is a nuanced task, with substantial variability across journals and between fields of study.
For an interesting view of the world of academic publishing, along with the people, institutions, and disrupting technologies that are pulling and pushing the business model to change, check out this recent article published in Vox.
I’m not sure we’re at a tipping point yet, given the cultural (and financial!) pressure for scientists to publish in top journals, but there’s growing evidence to show that changes are on the horizon.