I suspect a major divide in the usefulness of academic publication is whether we’re trying to establish specific empirical claims, or develop a philosophical framework. For the former, if you want to make STEM claims, it’s difficult to get people to take you seriously without having published results. This is what MIRI is doing. Many other EA problems, such as disease mitigation and economic development already have a developed literature, meaning much of the problem right now is applying that literature to donating strategy. As EA becomes more prevalent and we begin targeting problems other than the low hanging fruit, we will push the boundary of what that literature has to say. Givewell is running into this problem already. While the discussions should advance beyond what is published, it makes sense to have a paper trail of evidence that various methods are as effective as they’re claimed to be. While the discussion shouldn’t be limited to academia, there should be an academic branch to EA, particularly in STEM.