The current discourse on research productivity (how much peer-reviewed academic output is published by faculty) is dominated by quantitative research on individual and institutional traits; implicit assumptions are that academic writing is a predominately cognitive activity, and that lack of productivity represents some kind of deficiency. Introducing the academic literacies approach to this debate brings issues of identity, multiple communities, and different institutional expectations (at the local, national, and international levels) to the foreground. I argue that academics often juggle competing demands that create various sites of negotiation in the production of academic writing: the results of these negotiations can have a direct impact on what kind of research output is produced, and how much it ‘counts’. Drawing from research on the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), this article demonstrates how a theoretical framework based on academic literacies can be used to investigate research productivity outcomes in specific academic settings.
Studies in Higher Education