New policy tackles perverse incentives that drive ‘publish or perish’ culture and might be encouraging questionable research practices.
Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that encourage scientists to publish lots of papers rather than focus on high-impact work.
With this move, China takes the lead in research integrity, in a way we hope reverberates around the globe.
In China, one of the main indicators currently used to evaluate researchers, allocate funding and rank institutions is metrics collected by the Science Citation Index (SCI), a database of articles and citation records for more than 9,000 journals. Since 2009, articles in these journals written by authors from Chinese institutions increased from some 120,000 a year to 450,000 in 2019. Some institutions even pay researchers bonuses for publishing in them.