What Happens When Funding is Linked to Publication Counts?

  • Linda Butler


Many countries are placing a greater emphasis on public accountability for government research funding and are starting to use quantitative performance indicators for the distribution of funds. In Australian universities the use of quantitative formulas to allocate the research component of university block grants to institutions has been in place for a decade, and thus the system provides fertile ground for using bibliometrics to examine the effects of such policies on academic output. An analysis of Australian data from the Institute for Scientific Information’s major citation indexes clearly demonstrates the academic response to the linking of funds, at least in part, to productivity measures undifferentiated by any measure of quality — publication numbers jumped dramatically, with the highest percentage increase in the lower impact journals. The trends were apparent across all fields of research in the university sector, but were not present in other sectors active in research (such as hospitals or government research agencies). The trends were not, however, uniform across all institutions.


Publication Output High Education Research Publication Count Funding Formula Postgraduate Award 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Butler
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Evaluation and Policy Project, Research School of Social SciencesThe Australian National UniversityAustralia

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