Science under pressure: The PhD premium - Quantity over quality

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PhD dissertations are an important part of the research output of Dutch universities. However, in this essay I will argue that the quality of our PhD system is under pressure due to the PhD premium (in Dutch: de promotiepremie). This premium is a financial incentive the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science provides to the Dutch universities for each completed PhD dissertation. The premium steers towards maximizing the number of PhD dissertations instead of focusing on maximizing the quality of the PhD research. The PhD premium can make supervising PhD candidates a lucrative business. This may even lead to questionable research practices being tolerated or even institutionalized if these practices increase the number of PhD dissertations. Therefore, I will propose an alternative to the current PhD premium that could eliminate this potentially perverse incentive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScience under pressure
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on research integrity
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherTilburg University
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-94-6167-415-9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • promotiepremie
  • scientific integrity


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