Intended and unintended consequences of a publish-or-perish culture: a world-wide survey among demographers

Hendrik P. van Dalen, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Kène Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

How does the publication pressure in modern-day universities affect the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards in science? By using a world-wide survey among demographers in developed and developing countries, we show that the large majority perceive the publication pressure as high, but more so in Europe and North America. However, scholars see both the pros (upward mobility) and cons (excessive publication and uncitedness, mono-disciplinary bias in research, etc., neglect of policy issues) 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 the publication pressure negatively affects the orientation of demographers towards policy and knowing the facts, and it stresses the orientation towards publication and citation within the academic circle. There are no signs that this pressure affects the tendency to focus on mono-disciplinary research.

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Presented in Poster Session 3

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