One of the most eye-catching statistics published during the slow-news period of Thanksgiving week was about academic research.
The finding was that the vast majority of articles published in the arts, humanities and social sciences are never cited by another researcher. The implication, of course, is that they go almost entirely unread, and that therefore the research is largely worthless. Some 98% of articles in the arts and humanities and 75% in the social sciences are never cited. Things are not much better in the hard sciences--there, 25% of articles are never cited and the average number of cites even of those is one or two.