I've read that academics have to publish their works to get tenure or be prominent in their fields. Indeed, almost all popular scholars were known through their published works. But is it possible for academics and graduate degree holders to be prominent by focusing on the professional and practical aspects of their fields like working for the government or teaching?

  • 2
    In what sense could someone be 'respected' unless people know about them, and how will people know about them if they don't publish (or present)?
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 8:29
  • Apart from teaching, what would the person be doing which is a professional or practical aspect of their field, and which does not lead to publications? If you do research and never publish it, what have you really achieved? Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 9:24
  • You could try to become known through unpublished presentations at conferences if you are in a field where this happens. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


Publication is the most obvious route to prominence, but others most certainly exist. I think it would be extremely rare for somebody to be well-known and respected for non-publication reasons without having ever published (expertise, as demonstrated by publication, is often a ticket for entry to other things), but there are definitely people who are known for things largely unrelated to their publications.

For example, I have some colleagues who are important figures in their community due to their prominent role in founding and maintaining a large annual event. They've got some good publications, but that's not the primary thing that people know them and respect them for. This is not the typical route, but it's also quite possible.

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