Academic wordlists: Useful or overrated?

Academic wordlists, especially Coxhead's AWL have become an inseparable part of teaching academic English. Although some limitations of AWL have been pointed out (Hyland & Tse, 2007; Hancioglu et. al. 2008), AWL has become a standard reference for teaching academic vocabulary (cf. the inclusion of AWL in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary online). However, several questions arise:

How reliable is an academic wordlist based on a 3.5 M corpus?
Can we obtain a more reliable list?
What about a list of academic collocations?

 

 

List of academic collocations (in preparation)

 

   
  (c) Vaclav Brezina 2013