How the publish-or-perish principle divides a science: The case of economists

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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, like forms of goal displacement by scientists or unethical practices. 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. Publication pressure is high and is related to faculty position and university ranking position. Based on a latent class analysis we can detect a clear divide among economists. Around two third of the economists perceives that this pressure has upsides as well as serious downsides and one third only perceives upsides and no downsides. Full professors see more than other faculty members the positive sides of the publish-or-perish principle and virtually no downsides. These different perceptions are also reflected in their appreciation of the academic work environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1675–1694
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021


  • publication pressure
  • science metrics
  • Economists
  • funding pressure


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