Incentives for Sharing Knowledge: A Survey of Scholarly Practices in Public Affairs and Administration
by Stephen R. Neely, University of South Florida and Jerrell D. Coggburn, North Carolina State University
Do public affairs scholars have any incentive to share knowledge with practitioners or the general public? We surveyed 144 program leaders to find out.
It’s long been conceded that there is a significant gap between theory and practice in the field of public affairs. Practitioners seldom engage with academic research, and faculty members seem to make little effort at bridging the divide or making their work accessible to practitioner audiences. Many have speculated that university tenure and promotion standards lie at the heart of this disconnect, but thus far these arguments have been largely anecdotal. In order to provide greater empirical context to this debate, our study examines the extent to which faculty members are rewarded for sharing knowledge in accessible formats.
The findings suggest that while scholarly knowledge sharing is practiced in the field of public affairs, it is not widespread, and faculty members are not heavily rewarded for these efforts when it comes to tenure and promotion. We discuss ways for academic departments and institutions in the field to better incorporate and incentivize these critical practices among their faculty.