Academia all the Lies - Abstract
* The book is included in the list of the Prominent Books of 2020 in Israel.
Academia All the Lies is an X-ray of the academic ivory tower. It exposes the successful method, which has decayed over time, and the culture of lying, denial and fixation that has taken over institutions of higher education across the world.
It unfolds the inflation of scientific publications, which results in an alarming decline in the quality, relevance and reliability of science; the degenerated and dated Quality Control of empirical research; the transformation of faculty members into submissive and worn-out employees in an outdated production line; the outrageous wasting of budgets and resources; the rankings obsession that drags governments and institutions into a whirlwind of self-deception; The cynical monopoly and unabashed greediness of scientific publishing corporations; the lack of professionalism in managing institutions; the exploitation and deception of adjunct lecturers and research students; the waning attractiveness of an academic career; the transformation of the humanities into a pile of politically correct mumbo jumbo; the devaluation of the academic degree; the stubborn adherence to antiquated teaching methods and missing out on the Internet revolution; the disconnect between the curricula and the needs of society and the job market; and the marketing and branding ploys that are used to lure young people to sign up for expired institutions and courses.
But this book is not just a depressing snapshot of stagnated intellectual elite, which shuts its eyes in the face of changing times and betrays its social mission. Alongside the harsh criticism, Tamar and Oz Almog propose a course of recalculation and transition to a fresh model of research and education, tailored to the 21st century.
The COVID-19 crisis, which is shaking and will continue to rattle the education and science systems, will shortly make the prophetic prediction of the Almog's a reality - in which everything we have known to date about education and science will change dramatically.
"Academia: all the Lies," which was first published in Israel and elicited widespread public discourse, is a must-read for future students and their parents, employers, media, and policymakers. It is also a must-read for anyone who is engaged in science and education or dreams of a career in the field.
Academia all the Lies - Table of Contents
2. Survival at All Costs: The Economic Crisis
3. An Avalanche of Papers: The Crisis of Scientific Publishing
4. The Great Science Robbery: The Crisis of Access
5. Archaic Peer Review: The Quality Assurance Crisis
6. The Measurement Madness: The Rating Crisis
7. To a Lesser Degree: The Crisis of Higher Education
8. Liberating the Arts: The Crisis of the Humanities
9. The Lost Paradise: The Crisis of the Academic Career
10. The End of the Age of Academia: A General Diagnosis and Prognosis
Academia all the Lies - Media Coverage
The book has been featured or quoted in many major media (in Israel and abroad) including:
"I read the book from beginning to end and it was all déjà vu for me. I actually felt like [I was] literally walking around the hallways of my home. So when you, Tamar and Oz, write the second volume, I will be able to provide you with 400 additional pages concerning this matter." [Prof. Aharon Ciechanover, Israel’s Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, in a symposium in honor of the book’s release]
"It’s an excellent book, a very complete and total look at public education the present condition and very good suggestions in terms of where we should go. Its moving to the directions that you described, whether they like it or not. As the Israelis says, the facts on the ground.” [The Charles Moscowitz Podcast]
"If you are one of those who wonder how come more than 7 million scientists reside in about 28,000 universities, who are publishing about 2.5 million scientific papers per year (most of them are not read at all) in 30,000 peer review journals, accomplish so little, this book is a must-read for you.
The sad fact is that most of the true innovations are done today by the industry. Tamar and Oz Almog, two researchers from Haifa University in Israel, analyze the faults of academia -from the lack of transparency in publications reviewing, to the promotions of the academic staff and in the allocation of the public grants, and above all, to the politicization of science. A good example of the politicization of a scientific problem is “Global warming“. This issue which is an extremely complex physical problem became a political one. Many scientists who know nothing about Blackbody Radiation and Stephan-Boltzmann law or, for that matter, of any basic physics that are necessary for beginning to understand the problem, are speaking as if the answer is obvious.
The Almogs conclude that the system has to change as it cost too much. This book is a good start to recognizing the problem. We are flooded with data in all the aspect of our life because people are rewarded for producing data rather than for screening it. Thus, we cannot see the forest for the tree, and we cannot separate the wheat from the chaff. Changing the system is required as we are in the middle of the information revolution." [Dr. Oded Kafri, the author of "Entropy - God's Dice Game", Goodreads]
"This is a highly recommended book. When I was a young student many years ago,I always had a feeling that something doesn't "click" in the way the University works. I had a feeling that there is more than meets the eye. I went on with these feelings until I read this book.
The book debunked all the myth of the academic world and the problems that it faces nowadays. A nice bonus from reading this book is that it made me understand,how I want to continue my education, in which format and when. I recommend all those who plan to study in the higher education or studied in the past to read this book." [Sariel Hodisan, analog and RF Design Engineer, Goodreads]
"Das provokante Buch bietet eine spannende und anregende Lektüre, für Dozenten ebenso wie für Studierende – und das nicht allein in Israel und den USA mit ihren ganz eigenen akademischen Modellen, sondern wegen der Reformen in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten gleichermaßen auch in Deutschland." [Professorin für Hebräische und jüdische Literatur an der Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg (Juedische-allgemeine]
English: "The provocative book is an exciting and stimulating read, for lecturers as well as for students - and not only in Israel and the USA with their very unique academic models, but also in Germany because of the reforms in recent decades".[Prof. Anat Feinberg, Juedische-Allgemeine]
“This is not just another book. ‘All the Lies of Academia’ is an indictment of academia […] It’s not that we didn’t know that something was rotten in the state of higher education and knowledge […] without a fundamental change – academia will continue to sink deeper and deeper. Not all of academia – but a significant portion, and the Almogs’ book presents it in all its shamefulness. Go read it.” [Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Ahronoth – weekend supplement]
“Academia has a problem. It’s hard to argue with that statement, and few people want to. Today, it’s already easy to find commentators who point out the malfunctions in the university model and suggest ways to repair it, but it’s still hard to find someone who will do it in as in-depth, clear, detailed, and evidence-based a fashion as Dr. Tamar Almog and her husband Prof. Oz Almog in their new book. […] ‘All the Lies of Academia’ is a recommended book, and even a must-read, for anyone who intends to enter the gates of a college or university. This is an updated, detailed introduction to the academic world, well-explained and well-put, which is likely to help future students and future academics carefully consider their next steps and truly understand the disadvantages of the world they are entering into.” [Elad Nahshon, Mida]
“Now that we’ve gotten used to the lies of politicians and the media, we have been presented an opportunity to delve into the lies of academia, which is no longer suited either to the present or the future. […] Indeed, strength and courage are needed in order to embark on such a book: to lob harsh criticism at the Holy of Holies – let alone by someone who lives and teaches within it – and to recommend ways of converting it into another kind of shrine, entirely different from the classic model so familiar to us. In my eyes, it’s something like a cardinal from the Vatican who calls for a fundamental reform of the Catholic faith.” [Brigadier General (Res.) Amos Gilboa, Ma’ariv]
“This is a fascinating and in-depth book based on thousands of sources and studies. […] This is one of the most thorough monographs written in the past decades in Israel and in the world on the subject of higher education!!”
[Ami Salant, The Digital Knowledge and Curiosity Blog]
“Especially if you believe in the paramount importance of science and research, and if you also ask yourselves where all those nutty papers' headlines cloaked in scientific pretension pop up from every so often, treat yourselves and read this book, written by a pair who personally and deeply know the world they eulogize.” [Jacky Levy, Israel Hayom – weekend supplement]
" The Sisyphean pursuit of honor and citations, the lectures at the ends of the earth delivered to an audience of two, the intolerable exploitation of adjunct professors, and the frightening ease of baloney, fraud, and fakery: Signs of the deterioration of institutions of higher education around the world are presented in Tamar and Oz Almog’s new book, ‘All the Lies of Academia.’ Like biblical prophets of doom, they predict the end of universities in their current form.”
[Dr. Yehuda Yifrach, Makor Rishon]
“The feeling and the recognition that the failure-steeped world of academia is losing its relevance is wrapped up in Tamar and Oz Almog’s new book ‘All the Lies of Academia,’ in which they subject academia to a fiery indictment for the culture of lies, commercialization, atrophy, and narrowmindedness that has spread through the halls of higher education institutions around the world. In hundreds of painstakingly articulated pages, they enumerate the processes that have turned the institution of academia into an anachronistic entity in dire need of fundamental change, and in fact of an entirely new model. […] In this instructive and fascinating document, Tamar and Oz Almog put up a black mirror to academia, while they put the finger on what’s becoming ever clearer: that the bubble of higher education and research is putting out degrees that no one needs.” [Yossi Hadar, Maariv]
“In the past few months, the importance of scientists has come to the forefront – as has the importance of science to our lives. We’ve begun to read scientific papers, to analyze graphs, to use words such as ‘exponential,’ ‘epidemiological,’ and ‘serology’ as though we had been scientists from the womb, and most of all to wait for scientists and scientific institutions to develop a vaccine. And in these very days in which science is playing a starring role, a thick, well-documented, heavily researched tome has come out claiming ‘it’s all a lie.’ Okay, not ‘all,’ but a lot, really a lot. Academia, claims this book, is on its way to spiritual bankruptcy, if it hasn’t already gotten there. Prominent sociologists Oz and Tamar Almog, a married couple and academics themselves, are the authors of this book.” [Kobi Meidan, Sochen Tarbut, Kan Channel 11]
“‘All the Lies of Academia’ contains a comprehensive, clear, and heated discussion of the many failures in today’s system of higher education. Backed up by statistical data, descriptions of events, and anecdotes, the authors Tamar and Oz Almog bring a resolute and aggressive energy to this critical task. […] They cry out that the emperor has no clothes. The lack of awareness of this nakedness makes participants in the system miserable, weighs on the public coffers, and causes moral, economic, and scientific damage. […] The authors call for a revolution, not a reform. The state is rotten, and the well-known academic institutions are doomed to vanish from the world. Now, we have to create the system of higher education anew, in the spirit of free-market principles and with the support of technology: the king is dead, long live the king. […] This futuristic portrait, which will replace traditional public academia, is no fantasy. It is convincing and fascinating, but will also cause jaws to drop […] On the lies of academia there is much to say, and the Almogs do this well and fearlessly.” [Dr. Omri Herzog, Haaretz Books]
“The story of Tamar and Oz Almog is starting to resemble the classic biblical story of the prophet at the gates. He stands and warns the people over and over, outlines for them their foolishness and its inevitable punishment, and shows them the way to fix what they have wrought. The people, in turn, try to silence the criticism as best they can, attempt to write the prophet off as merely delusional, and convince themselves that those things aren’t being said about them. And then, the turning point and climax of the story arrives: when the forces of nature show up and prove that the prophet was right. To unpack the metaphor: Tamar and Oz are in the role of the prophet, the heads of academia in the role of the crowd, and COVID-19 in the role of the forces of nature. […] It is hard not to feel the burning passion that the couple feels for the subject. Like two wanderers in the academic desert, they thirstily search for the pursuit of truth and the expansion of knowledge, as they thoroughly diagnose the hostile forces that have taken over every field.” [Yoni Rotenberg, B’sheva]
“The book is enjoyable, brave, and uniquely important. It’s a challenging book that you don’t have to agree with, but you have to read.” [Emily Amrussi and Prof. Yuval Albashan, Emily and the Professor, Kan Channel 11]
“A thick book full of all good things. […] You released it at the very beginning of the coronavirus. I remember I said, ‘We have to talk about this book.’ You’ve written a very powerful book. […] You have genuinely revealed a great deal. […] You’ve dispelled some of the darkness around the connections, the flattery-based nepotism, the politics.” [Varda Raziel Jacont, Nonstop Radio FM103]
“‘All the Lies of Academia’ is a book by Tamar and Oz Almog, senior sociologists and lovely people. And the question must be asked: how did no one come up with this topic before?" [Orly and Guy, "We are Home" television channel on Facebook]
“So I very much hope for and recommend to all my listeners: Open your minds, recalibrate your paths. Read the book. This book is important both for you and for your children and grandchildren. It is uniquely brave, and I hope that it will actually pave the way for real change and make the whole system more effective – from kindergarten all the way to a doctorate.” [Maya Wolf, summary, Womanly Happiness podcast]
“If there is one book that you really ought to read, it is this book by the Almogs. A long and incisive document that explains in the clearest, most honest way possible why an academic degree is often a bad way to start your life these days. But beyond the explanations, and beyond the fact that the book is extremely long (the authors were almost certainly reluctant to release it in two parts, because there are those who would have tried to shoot down the second part), this is a timely, important, thought-provoking, debate-provoking, conversation-provoking work, which challenges the existing approaches. Friends, all told, this book costs as much as three sandwiches, and it’s worth every penny – really every penny.” [Assaf Golan, Facebook]
“I like this book… Brave and fierce… Academia is indeed in a deep crisis.” [Dr. Yuval Karniel, former rector and vice-president of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Facebook]
“From within a general culture which is by all measures dominated by swimming with the stream and collective discipline, emerges Tamar and Oz’s book. I believe the book reflects the spirit of our university, which once was and is no longer. This book is controversial, rebellious, and aggravating – but most of all, thought-provoking. You don’t have to agree with everything said in it, but everyone in academia, especially administration, must read the book and deal with the hard questions it raises, even if the picture it reflects in the mirror is not a complimentary one – and that’s putting it nicely.”
[Prof. Gur Alroey, Dean of Humanities, University of Haifa, in a symposium in honor of the book’s release]
“In the Almogs’ fascinating new book, they present academia stripped bare and expose all of its many flaws. From their description arises a forlorn picture of a backwards and behind-the-times institution that needs to undergo a fundamental change as soon as possible. […] I think this is the most interesting and important book I read this year. It is an impressive achievement for the pair of researchers, in the wake of their earlier book on Generation Y, also a trailblazer.
Moreover, we must credit them for their daring, in that they are willing to speak out against the institution of which they are part – even though there will certainly be those who count this as a strike against them. But in fact, they are not speaking out against the institution, but in its favor. They suggest necessary changes that will come about in the near future anyway in some way or another, and it’s worth being aware of them.” [Haggai Hoffer’s blog]
“The book, a work of academic research in every way, is an eloquent and extremely well-reasoned lampoon that explains why academia in its current format has gone bankrupt. […] The authors emphasize that while the students struggle under the burden, the heads of higher education continue to pamper themselves with fat paychecks and lavish benefits. Will this behavior continue? Are academic studies necessary? Do they really contribute to the graduate’s success in life?Tamar Almog and Oz Almog respond to these questions, and their answers are informative. They back up their claims with a treasure trove of data and examples, some of which would be almost funny, were they not so shocking […] Beyond the fact that the book is very interesting, it is also important. Will it, alongside the coronavirus, speed up the requisite changes? Time will tell.” ["Soferet Sefarim” – Ofra Offer Oren’s blog]
“Most of us are familiar with Gulliver’s journey in Lilliput, the land of the dwarves (Jonathan Swift’s 300-year-old satire). Some are familiar with his second journey to Brobdingnag, the land of the giants. But only a few know about Gulliver’s two final journeys. The third journey, to Laputa, is a still-relevant satire of academia. Our friend Prof. Oz Almog will find here an authority to support his important book, which has just been published, on the problematic connection between the academic ivory tower and real life.” [Dr. Dror Eydar, Israeli ambassador to Italy, on Facebook]
“In Israel, it is common practice to describe an academic (or a journalist, or an artist) as ‘brave’ if he asserts something that pleases his colleagues at work, his bosses, and the distributors of prizes in his field – generally, something against the occupation and/or against Benjamin Netanyahu. Let’s just say that you don’t need a lot of courage to quote the same clichés that your entire milieu rehashes all the time. Want to see real courage? Read the new book by Prof. Oz Almog and his wife Dr. Tamar Almog. Both of them are university professors, and in their book ‘All the Lies of Academia,’ they take down that very institution with no remorse. And thus, it is brave." [Rabbi Chaim Navon, the author of “Genesis and Jewish Thought”, Facebook]
“If you were always skeptical about university, now you have a good reason. The new book by the researchers Tamar and Oz Almog bears the name ‘All the Lies of Academia.’ They reveal one by one the distortions in academic degree programs and the fakery and fraud in higher education today. They arrive at a critical insight for the way forward: Online courses are the future of higher education. […] This new and remarkable book from researchers Tamar and Oz Almog blows up everything you thought you knew about higher education." [home page for Afik College for Land and Property Valuation]
Selected media outlets
The Brussels Times (Do universities have a future after the coronavirus crisis? an interview by M. Apelblat)
The Algemeiner published an excerpt from the book
New book by Israeli authors predicts the doom of universities: An Interview with Prof. Oz Almog, English News Highlights (Featured interviews from the daily radio news program on KAN, the Israeli public broadcaster)
The Charles Moscowitz Podcast
Reshet Channel 13 (opening a new day)
IDF Radio (Holchot Bechazot)
Academia all the Lies - Lectures and Articles
Webinar organized by Politika, a student organization at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium.
Zoom symposium in honor of the book’s release, organized by the Faculty of Humanities and the Library, University of Haifa. Participants: Prof. Aharon Ciechanover, Israel’s Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Technion; Prof. Arie Maharshak, President of ORT Braude College; Prof. Haim Be’er, Writer, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Mr. Sever Plotzker, journalist, Yedioth Ahronoth. Supervisor: Prof. Gur Elroy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Haifa. Respondents: Dr. Tamar Almog, Prof. Oz Almog, University of Haifa.
Heads of Teaching Centers in Higher Education Institutions - Webinar following the Corona at the initiative of the Council for Higher Education.
Webinar organized by the Library of Social Sciences, Management and Education at Tel Aviv University.
"The Academic Degree Age – The Beginning of the End". A lecture in a symposium for career counselors.
"Publications in the Humanities – What Went Wrong?". Steering Committee for the Advancement of the Humanities, The Council for Higher Education.
"The Academic Degree Age – The Beginning of the End". “Digital Israel”.
"Academia in the new era" conference. Sapir Academic College.
The Brussels Times (Young people are catching on: An academic degree isn’t worth much)