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Title: Incentives for international publications in the Humanities and Social Sciences : an exploratory study of Chinese universities
Author: Xu, Xin
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This research aims to investigate how Chinese universities have attempted to incentivise academics in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) to publish in internationally-indexed journals, in response to increasing emphasis on internationalisation in national policies and political discourses. In addition, it explores how HSS academics' research activities and careers have been influenced by those incentives. Institutional incentives used monetary and career- related benefits to prioritise international publications, especially publications in journals indexed by the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI;). This phenomenon has provoked heated debates in China, particularly seen as detrimental to domestic publications and to other academic activities. The thesis aims to address the lack of systematic research on the scale and structure of those incentives in Chinese universities, and the lack of research on the incentive schemes' influences on HSS academics' research and careers. The study applied a multiple-case study design, including six research- intensive universities in China, indicative of '985' and '211' universities in Chinese policy terms. It drew on interview data with 65 HSS academics, six senior university administrators, and four HSS journal editors in China. The study also included a documentary analysis of 172 institutional incentive policy documents across 113 of the '985' and '211' universities. This research revealed that 84 out of the 113 research universities have been employing monetary bonuses or career-related incentives to promote HSS international publications. Incentives varied in their aims, the level of benefits, specific requirements, and models of policy-making. The findings suggested that higher prestige was being attached to SSCI and A&HCI; publications, as demonstrated by the higher bonus value for them and higher status in academics' career development. The study also found that academic interviewees' responses to incentives clustered around four profiles: proactive, adaptive, resistant, and hesitant. Academics from different sub-groups and various backgrounds reported direct and indirect influences of incentive schemes on their research and careers. The theoretical contributions of the study include a conceptualisation of academics' responses to research incentives, and a proposed framework for understanding the relationship between incentives and international publications. It identified specific dynamics in Chinese HSS, which challenged the widely-used centre-periphery model for explaining the internationalisation of knowledge production. It also reflected on unintended influences of incentives for HSS international publications. Drawing on the discussion, the thesis proposes implications for institutional policymaking and directions for further studies.
Supervisor: Oancea, Alis ; Rose, Heath ; Ertl, Hubert Sponsor: Universities' China Committee in London ; Clarendon Fund ; Santander Travel Awards ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education