One aspect of academe that has always interested me is the issue of public scholarship -- academics and others who write for a broader audience. I tried to address this topic from the LIS perspective in my "Accountability, Public Scholarship, and Library, Information, and Archival Science Educators," Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 41 (Spring 2000): 94-105.
Patricia Nelson Limerick, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has provided an interesting gloss on this from the humanities perspective in her "Tales of Western Adventure," published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, She writes, in part, "The Center of the American West is one indication of the beginning of a shift in academe toward more acceptance of applied work, and it's certainly not the only example. I have met professors on my own campus and elsewhere who are at work in all sorts of applied ways, serving as expert witnesses in litigation on behalf of Indian tribes, working with schoolteachers, consulting with elected and appointed officials, and guiding governmental agencies and advocacy groups."
Given the nature of what we are involved in, I have always thought that we ought to be publishing for broader audiences, as some of our colleagues -- David Levy, Paul Duguid, John Seely Brown, Matthew Battles -- have done.
You can find the full article at http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i35/35c00101.htm