What if people could only publish five papers before tenure? Some people hate this idea, but it might help with some problems.
There’s an article out in Science titled The Pressure to Publish Pushes Down Quality. The author’s point is that as the volume of papers goes up, the good ones get lost in the bad ones. There are other downsides as well. People waste a lot of time funding, writing, reviewing, editing, and reading lots of shoddy papers. The number of papers needed to get tenure keeps going up, which puts a lot of pressure on early-career academics. Lastly, when people have an incentive to publish a lot, they’re not encouraged to thoroughly review what’s come before. If they do, they may learn their idea is not all that new. This can prevent cumulative progress being made in science. As an aside, it’s hard to blame authors for not thoroughly reviewing the literature when so much junk has been published in the last decades.