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One such student surnamed Zhao, who specializes in translation studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University BFSU , said he has written eight different papers, which he has submitted to C-list journals at total of 30 times since Only one was published. Zhao remains confident that he will graduate. He said that because BFSU is one of the few universities that does not demand doctoral students to publish in C-list journals, his motivation for targeting them stems from a desire to meet the job requirements of his dream university in southeastern China.

But Zhao was an exception: Most students we spoke to feared that their colleges would defer their graduation dates if they failed to publish their work in time. A graduation ceremony for doctorate students in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, June 30, Generally, liberal arts students target the C-list journals more than science students, who tend to compete more often for spots in international publications.

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The situation is particularly bad for subjects like translation studies, which students say are underrepresented in domestic academic publishing. By comparison, 75 C-list journals publish articles in the better-researched field of economics. Since , government press-regulators have permitted colleges and research institutes to legally publish journals by issuing them with serial numbers. Even prestigious places of learning like Nanjing University only hold the rights to publish a maximum of two journals. This is far fewer than most of their Western counterparts, where publishers can theoretically apply for unlimited numbers of International Standard Serial Numbers.

Sixteen current journals are currently produced by the Harvard Law School; Oxford University Press turns out more than In other countries, scholars and institutions can easily apply to set up a new journal, but in China, journals are [more tightly] managed. Restrictions on journal numbers mean that Chinese institutions usually put out comprehensive publications instead of subject-specific ones, and hire editors with general, rather than specialist, knowledge, said Zhu Jian, chief editor of the Journal of Nanjing University.

Is Publish or Perish Still True For Academics?

The IF system, which was introduced to China in the late s and refined in the late s, quantifies the average number of citations to recent articles published in a certain journal, in order to rank its relative importance in its field. In the West, manuscripts are subjected to the scrutiny of an often-anonymous group of experts in the same field to ensure that the final paper meets established standards. But in China, the process is far from transparent. Zhou, the Chinese literature student, said that virtually none of the 50 or so papers he submitted for peer review were returned with suggested improvements, implying that reviewers had given each text a cursory read instead of fully engaging with it.

Publish or Perish: How to Survive in Academia | Scribendi

In some cases, journals openly charge less-experienced contributors a fee in return for publishing their work. Journals are all about connections. Other editors cultivate reciprocal connections with writers on the assumption that, in the future, they will also help the editor out when they or their students look for a place to publish their work. And online, scholars are seemingly never more than a few clicks away from securing a chapter in a Chinese journal. When Sixth Tone posed as a prospective customer, two vendors we spoke to offered to write a C-list paper for us and bring it to publication for 55, yuan.

Fraudsters profit from Chinese academics in other ways, too. Some set up fake websites and email addresses, masquerade as legitimate C-list journals, and trick students into submitting their papers and personal information. Then, they charge unsuspecting scholars so-called review fees totaling several hundred yuan, or else convince them to part with their money in return for a publication deal that never materializes.

Liu, the law lecturer, once accidentally sent a paper to one such outfit. A student stands between book shelves in a university library in Shenyang, Liaoning province, July 5, Ruan Kai, former editor of the Shanghai-based C-list social-science journal Exploration and Free Views, said that more than 10 scholars during his three-year tenure called him to ask when their papers would be published, having paid several thousand yuan to fraudsters. Ruan emphasized that, to the best of his knowledge, Exploration and Free Views never accepted money in return for publishing.

Overreliance on C-list journals and IF scores is partly a product of the Chinese university system, in which nonacademic staff play an outsized role in determining the nature of research, scholars say. When you have to publish 10 C-list papers to become a professor, it makes you focus on quantity, not quality. But this mechanism compels scholars to desperately churn out papers at the expense of quality.

Publish or Perish: How to Survive in Academia

For Zhou, the Chinese literature Ph. He has waited six months for his second C-list paper to be published, but the journal is tight-lipped about when it will actually happen. A gentle personality, Zhou nonetheless became agitated when talking about getting his work published. Header image: A student pores over documents in a university library in Chongqing, Oct. It puts you on the front foot when applying for academic positions. I have seen PhD candidates appointed into tenure-track positions prior to completing their PhD due to their publication record.

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Some are gaining publications from their Masters degree. The alternative to publishing during your PhD is to write your thesis and publish afterwards. If you have the luxury to do this without having to work all good, but it can take a long time if you are working post PhD. I took a year for my first publication, two more years for my second and another year for my third PhD paper.

But then I might just be a slow writer……. Here is to your successful publishing be it as part of your degree or once you are done. We look forward to reading it because we need more good research out there in the world, challenging and decolonising the academy and Indigenous research spaces.

‘Publish or Perish’: Academic research, writing and publishing workshop

All the best! My 2 finger typing is not flash either. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on publishing, I think it is a disadvantage career wise to not publish during your thesis writing. But working and studying hardly gives me enough time for the thesis, so it concerns me that I am not likely to publish till after I am done.

Congrats on your publications too Pete! Like Like. Ka pai, Abigail, if I am in a real hurry a few more fingers hit the keyboard but then so do the mistakes. As someone who is doing a thesis by publication, I think something that needs to be highlighted is that this way has its downsides too. A full thesis is a rich story of your journey, there is a lot of you that gets to go into the thesis. Unfortunately, this exciting and fulfilling part of the writing tends to get left out when writing articles for publication.

I have had rejections for an article that could have been a finished chapter by now. The pressure to publish is an added stress to the process.

Is the Publish-or-Perish System Helpful or Harmful?

I am not advocating for either way — I think that is a personal choice, and like Abi explains above, that is often dictated by outside life. Like Liked by 1 person. Nga mihi Pete.


I can relate to your story as I too did not publish during my PhD and, after completion, was up against other lecturer applicants who had been encouraged to publish. Once you become an early career academic time is tight time to write can be harder to ring fence. Kia ora Hinekura. Since becoming the MAI coordinator, I got some writing time in the form of writing days and retreats.

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