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How the Publish-or-Perish Principle Divides a Science: The Case of Academic Economists

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Document pages: 35 pages

Abstract: The publish-or-perish principle has become a fact of academic life in gaining a position or being promoted. Evidence is mounting that benefits of this pressure is being countered by the downsides, notably by means of scientific misconduct or forms of goal displacement by scientists. In this paper we evaluate whether perceived work pressure (publishing, acquisition funds, teaching, administration) is associated with different attitudes towards science and the workplace among economists working at Dutch universities. Based on latent class analysis one can detect a clear divide among economists. Approximately two thirds of the economists perceives that this pressure has more downsides than upsides and one third only perceives only upsides and no downsides. Work pressure does not seem to drive this divide as both classes do not differ in terms of work pressure. Whether one is an optimist or a skeptic of the publish-or-perish principle is more tied to one’s position in the hierarchy. Full professors see far more than other faculty members the positive sides of the publish-or-perish principle.

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