Center for Public Policy Studies

650,000 USD from the National Science Centre (NCN) for Emanuel Kulczycki for scientometric studies

The National Science Centre in Poland has awarded a grant to Emanuel Kulczycki for the project entitled ‘Parametric Game in the era of the research evaluation systems’ (2018–2023). 

Description of the project

New models of research and science management focus on the accountability of research results. Scientists should not only investigate and describe the world and society, they should also publish their results in the most recognized top-tier channels of scholarly communication. In this way, science in the 21st century has become ‘Speed Academia’ where the main rule is ‘Publish or Perish’. The measurement of scientist productivity has created research evaluation systems on both the national and local levels. In several European countries (e.g., Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, Poland), such national systems have been implemented.

The main goal of this project is to investigate how the implementing of regulations from the national research evaluation system in Poland in the local regulations of universities and faculties has produced the parametric game (‘punktoza’ in Polish) and transformed the publication patterns of scholars in social sciences and humanities. The parametric game is an academic work strategy that has become widespread in Poland due to the introduction of a particular policy of rewards. In this strategy, the most ‘profitable’ choice is to publish several articles in journals without an Impact Factor rather than one paper in a top-tier journal.

This project will allow us to analyze the parametric game in the social sciences and humanities in Poland. Moreover, the project’s results will contribute to our knowledge about the consequences of government policy on the publication and scientific practices of Polish scholars.

We will identify the publication patterns of Polish scholars in the social sciences and humanities. We will show what types of publications they prefer (articles, books, edited volumes) and how they decide which language to publish in and when to write co-authored papers. In addition, we will reconstruct the historical context of the implementation of the national research evaluation system in Poland. Moreover, we will investigate how ‘Publish or Perish’ has pushed scholars to use the communication channels of Fake Academia (predatory journals and conferences).

We will conduct over 160 semi-structured interviews with personnel from high-level management and scholars from Polish universities and institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In parallel, we will build a complex corpus of official regulations and publications on research evaluation in Poland from 1918–2017. This data set will allow us to reconstruct past and ongoing discourses on research evaluation. Moreover, we will build a data set of Fake Academia (bibliometric data from predatory journals and conferences) that will allow us to add a new interpretational dimension to the analysis of the context of research evaluation system implementation.

The results will be highly relevant for researchers of science and higher education and scholarly communication, especially scientometricians, bibliometricians, and science policy researchers. The project will provide the opportunity to extend our knowledge on academic work and productivity management in the era of global academic competition. In addition, the project will contribute to our knowledge on the use and misuse of national research evaluation systems.

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