Publishing Incentives


Heiner Evanschitzky has summarized responses from 25 ELMAR subscribers on business school incentive schemes for publishing and publications

 ARC: Connections: ELMAR: Posting

Dear colleagues,

Thank you very much for responding so actively to my recent ELMAR call “incentive schemes”! Generally, the comments were very much in favor of incentive schemes, with few notable exceptions. It was expressed that incentives increased motivation of colleagues to do research. It was also believed that incentives helped to create the feeling of being at a “research active” university. Moreover, it was argued that the schemes attracted some top researchers as well as they retained good researchers.

Here is a summary of comments concerning your experiences with incentive-schemes (responses came from 25 colleagues from nine countries):

  • What is incentivized?
    • Mostly publications in peer-reviewed journals
    • Some schools incentivize grant application
    • Incentivizing books/book chapters or teaching excellence seems rather unusual.
  • How does the scheme work?
    • Two basic types emerged: an increase of base salary and a bonus payment.
      • Salary increases are either ongoing for the time of employment or fixed-term increases (e.g., for three years).
      • Bonuses can be taken as cash-payments or as research money (which is typically tax free for the researcher).
    • Most schools seem to differentiate between the quality of papers based on rankings (see below) while some incentivize all peer-reviewed work.
  • How high are the incentives?
    • The bonus-pay seems to hugely differ from about 1500 US-Dollar (peer reviewed conference proceeding) to 25000 US-Dollar (top-tier journal publication).
    • For grant money, researchers are paid between 1% and 10% of the research funding given as bonus.
    • Other forms of incentives were reduction in teaching loads.
  • Who gets the bonus?
    • Essentially, there is a fixed sum per unit of research (e.g., paper, funding, etc.). That bonus can be split between the participating researchers.
    • Some schools would award the full sum to the lead author and it is up to that person to distribute it among co-authors.
    • Some schools incentivize cross-university (=building cross-university networks) publications while others specifically incentivize within-university (=strengthening collaboration within universities) publications.
    • To avoid conflict between co-authors from different universities, some schools award just one sum to their member of staff, irrespective of who else is participating in the research.
  • Key success factors?
    • Clearly key: transparency!
    • Using an agreed-upon ranking.
    • Not too much bureaucracy.
  • Key problems/comments?
    • Incentives generally seem to work in such a way that they are likely to ‘channel’ research activities. However, it seems unclear if they actually enhance knowledge generation.
    • One key (operational) challenge seems to be to agree on a ranking.