Inside Higher Ed, Senior Scholars Keep Pace Younger Colleagues In Publishing, Study Says:
A new study of academic productivity says that older professors, sometimes criticized as being academic deadwood, publish as much as their younger colleagues.
These senior scholars do tend to publish fewer conference papers than younger colleagues but keep pace with them in terms of published articles, the paper says. Crucially, senior professors publish more chapters and books than their younger counterparts, reflecting the valuable synthesis of knowledge and insight gathered over the course of a career.
Anthony Olejniczak & William E. Savage (Academic Analytics), Do Senior Faculty Members Produce Fewer Research Publications Than Their Younger Colleagues? Evidence from Ph.D. Granting Institutions in the United States:
The aging of the professoriate throughout the end of the twentieth century and the early years of the 2000′s (both before and after the end of mandatory retirement in the United States, ca. 1994) has become a source of concern for some scholars and research administrators, who posit that the “greying” of the academy results in lower research activity and a decline in scientifc advancement. Some published opinions concur that senior scholars’ research programs do not keep pace with those of their younger colleagues, but little quantitative evidence has been presented to evaluate that claim.
In this study, we quantify senior faculty publication activity in six broad felds, comparing their publication rates to their younger colleagues across four modes of knowledge dissemination: journal articles, conference proceedings, books, and book chapters. Career publication activity does not follow the “peak and decline” pattern described in earlier studies. In most felds, journal article publication rates do not decline substantively with age (and in some cases article publication rates are higher among senior scholars), conference proceeding publication rates tend to decline with age, while book and chapter publication rates increase markedly with age. Overall, senior scholars maintain publishing activity levels and tend to shift their focus to the development and evolution of ideas through the publication of longer-format works as books and book chapters.