Academic articles aren’t worthless, they’re being sold by large publishers for $35–50 a pop.
Devon Price
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The academic papers market is entirely artificial. Academic papers are read by academics as part of their research for their own academic papers. Although I don’t have specific numbers, I believe that the market for academic publications is almost entirely academic industry.

I’m willing to bet that if publishing stopped being the major consideration for tenure decisions, the academic papers market would almost completely disappear. That’s why I think that the academic papers are worthless and why there’s no reason to pay academics to write them.