Cross-country differences in publishing productivity of academics in research universities

Peter James Bentley (2014)

The main bibliometric databases indicate large differences in country-level scientific publishing productivity, with high growth in many East Asian countries. However, it is difficult to translate country-level publishing productivity to individual-level productivity due to cross-country differences in the size and composition of the research workforce, as well as limited coverage of publications in the social sciences and humanities. Alternative data sources, such as individual-level self-reported publication data, may capture a wider range of publication channels but potentially include non-peer reviewed output and research re-published in different languages. Using individual-level academic survey data across 11 countries, this study finds large differences across countries in individual-level publishing productivity. However, when fractionalised for English-language and peer-reviewed publications, cross-country differences are relatively smaller. This suggests that publishing productivity in certain countries is inflated by a tendency to publish in non-peer reviewed outlets. Academics in large, non-English speaking countries also potentially benefit from a wider range of domestic publication channels. Demographic, motivational and institutional characteristics associated with high individual-level publishing productivity account for part of the publishing productivity differences within and between counties in English-language and peer-reviewed publishing productivity, but not in total publishing productivity where such workforce characteristics only account for within-country differences.

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