Episode #66

Publications as “Currency”

I’m diving into the idea of “publications as currency” to both debunk the idea and show you how you can make it work for you and your academic mission.


If you’re in academica, you’ve probably heard the idea that publications are currency. And that’s true…but what does it really mean for us as womxn academics operating in systems that are not built for us? Publications add value to the world, represent our work, and give us something tangible to take forward with us. But it’s time to reframe the “currency” idea.

I want to show you how you can use your writing as the currency to get you where you want to go in your career, rather than as a proscribed idea of what you have to publish where to “pay” your way forward. Some of the ideas I’m going to put forward might seem scary, but I think they are vital to our individual satisfaction in our careers, and to the collective work we’re doing to change norms in academia.


Publications Are Part of Your Creation

What is currency? Something that has value no matter where you take it, that gets picked up and passed around and used by others. This is just what our publications do. They add value, and they are mobile. You might not be able to transfer curriculum creation or coursework from one institution to another, but your publications always come with you, and always add value. 

“If publications are currency, that means writing needs to take a more central role in our careers.”  -Cathy Mazak

Currently in academia, the “currency” idea is often used to mean certain kinds of publications, in certain kinds of journals, that pay your way to certain opportunities. I want to challenge that. 

Our careers as academics are a continuous process of creation. Publications are a kind of “receipt” for that creation; they are a tangible thing to point to. But what else could be a “receipt” of the creation you do? Always bring it back to your academic mission statement. What has helped you move toward that mission? Maybe it’s engaging with your audience through newspaper articles, social media, or community involvement. These can all be used as currency to build the career you want. But you have to be strategic.


Getting Strategic With Your Writing

Maybe being published in a prestigious journal doesn’t move your career forward like smaller journals that are more targeted to your audience would. Don’t let the norms of a patriarchal, racist, ableist system distract you; always bring things back to your mission statement.

Use your writing strategically to help you get the working conditions you want, the things you need to support your mission and the career you are building. Here’s how:

  • Craft your career narrative to tell the story of your career in a way that highlights all of your writing and work.
  • Always measure goals and opportunities against your mission statement.
  • Reflect on what you want your career and working conditions to look like going forward.
  • Think about what you want your publications to do for you. What doors do you want to open? What audience do you want to reach? Where will you make the most impact?

It might seem scary at first, but reflecting on what you actually want and then going for it is important, and powerful. It isn’t selfish; it’s making your important, creative contribution to the world the best it can be.

“The more you are happy and joyful in your career, the better your contribution to the world is going to be.”  -Cathy Mazak

So, are publications currency in academia? You bet they are. But they don’t have to be in the journals that are most prestigious, or in the order someone else thinks they should be in.. or only in journals at all. They are the currency for getting what you want in your career.

“You are more in charge of your career than you think.” -Cathy Mazak


Get Support and Get Writing!

My Momentum co-writing group is only $27/month and is a great way to get motivated, and get support to create the space and time you need to write. Get in the right headspace on our Monday Mindset calls, then get writing. Sign up today, and write with us tomorrow!

Pulled in a thousand directions and can’t seem to carve out time to write? Download my   10 Ways to Make Time to Write cheat sheet for ideas to implement today!

Connect with me:

Facebook Page


Stay current in Academic Publishing

Subscribe to our newsletter:

In the Pipeline

writing tips, publishing trends, reading recomendations, free workshops

Academic Publishing


Your Writing Roadmap®

All career stages

12-week online program

Navigate helps tenure track womxn and nonbinary professors double their publishing output in a year by implementing 10 essential time and project management/productivity systems with weekly support/ accountability of coaching and peers.


Design Your Dossier


6-month coaching program

Amplify teaches early career scholars a process for securing promotion by developing publication-focused strategies, boundaries, and priorities in a peer- and coach-supported small group.


Your Mid-career Uplevel


6-month coaching program

Elevate helps midcareer scholars identify and make a plan to reach the next big milestone in their career by identifying and working in their zone of genius with the support of coaching and peers.


Scholar's Voice Retreats

All career stages

Virtual (full-day/6 hours) or In Person (2 Days)

Scholar's Voice Faculty Retreats is a professional development experience designed to inspire womxn and nonbinary faculty with the mindset and strategy to take control of their time by centering their writing and publishing.

Send me Writer's Retreat updates by email!

Send me Writer's Retreat updates by email!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get Your Cheat Sheet!

Get the PDF Cheat Sheet right to your inbox!

Check your email to find your cheat sheet!

Skip to content
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.