Publish or impoverish: An investigation of the monetary reward system of science in China (1999-2016)

Authors : Wei Quan, Bikun Chen, Fei Shu


The purpose of this study is to present the landscape of the cash-per-publication reward policy in China and reveal its trend since the late 1990s.


This study is based on the analysis of 168 university documents regarding the cash-per-publication reward policy at 100 Chinese universities.


Chinese universities offer cash rewards from 30 to 165,000 USD for papers published in journals indexed by Web of Science (WoS), and the average reward amount has been increasing for the past 10 years.


The cash-per-publication reward policy in China has never been systematically studied and investigated before except for in some case studies. This is the first paper that reveals the landscape of the cash-per-publication reward policy in China.


Researchers’ Individual Publication Rate Has Not Increased in a Century

Authors : Daniele Fanelli, Vincent Larivière

Debates over the pros and cons of a “publish or perish” philosophy have inflamed academia for at least half a century. Growing concerns, in particular, are expressed for policies that reward “quantity” at the expense of “quality,” because these might prompt scientists to unduly multiply their publications by fractioning (“salami slicing”), duplicating, rushing, simplifying, or even fabricating their results.

To assess the reasonableness of these concerns, we analyzed publication patterns of over 40,000 researchers that, between the years 1900 and 2013, have published two or more papers within 15 years, in any of the disciplines covered by the Web of Science.

The total number of papers published by researchers during their early career period (first fifteen years) has increased in recent decades, but so has their average number of co-authors. If we take the latter factor into account, by measuring productivity fractionally or by only counting papers published as first author, we observe no increase in productivity throughout the century.

Even after the 1980s, adjusted productivity has not increased for most disciplines and countries. These results are robust to methodological choices and are actually conservative with respect to the hypothesis that publication rates are growing.

Therefore, the widespread belief that pressures to publish are causing the scientific literature to be flooded with salami-sliced, trivial, incomplete, duplicated, plagiarized and false results is likely to be incorrect or at least exaggerated.

URL : Researchers’ Individual Publication Rate Has Not Increased in a Century


Intended and Unintended Consequences of a Publish-or-Perish Culture: A Worldwide Survey

How does publication pressure in modern-day universities affect the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards in science? By using a worldwide survey among demographers in developed and developing countries, we show that the large majority perceive the publication pressure as high, but more so in Anglo-Saxon countries and to a lesser extent in Western Europe. However, scholars see both the pros (upward mobility) and cons (excessive publication and uncitedness, neglect of policy issues, etc.) of the so-called ‘publish-or-perish’ culture.

By measuring behavior in terms of reading and publishing, and perceived extrinsic rewards and stated intrinsic rewards of practicing science, it turns out that publication pressure negatively affects the orientation of demographers towards policy and knowledge of the population facts. There are no signs that the pressure affects reading and publishing outside the core discipline.