At a regional comprehensive, Average Academic X is hardly likely to find research assistants willing to write large chunks of her work. Which, all in all, strikes me as a perk one could well do without. I understand the necessity of having assistants to collect and manage data for large projects, and I certainly understand the appeal of having assistants to do minor administrative tasks or even run the darned photocopier. But I had been under the impression that the purpose of a research project is to learn something about the topic--not just to synthesize your assistants' work. How does a scholar continue to improve without getting down in the metaphorical trenches? It's not as though you ever fully master research and writing, in the sense of achieving some final state of being Practically Perfect. New projects entail new challenges, new methods, new archives, and sometimes new writing techniques. The author brings up academic integrity--"Yet if the undergraduates doing this research attempted the same outsourcing of written work in their term papers, they’d face disciplinary proceedings, and several student researchers told me they felt uneasy about this cognitive dissonance between expectations for their own work and that of their professor"--but one of the reasons we crack down on plagiarism is that it short-circuits the learning process. Faculty do not cease to be "students" just because they have alphabet soup after their name.