I've just asked Can Chinese "scientists who publish in the top Western journals... earn in excess of $100,000 per paper" via cash-per-publication incentives? in which I reference the recent Politics SE question Did China scientific incentives address the fact that the system can be gamed? which includes the following:

These guys have surveyed the financial incentives offered by the top 100 universities in China and mined that data for interesting trends. They say that cash-per-publication incentives are common and that scientists who publish in the top Western journals can earn in excess of $100,000 per paper. What’s more, there are already worrying signs that these financial rewards are skewing the process of science in China.

China has well over 1,000 universities. But in the 1990s it began a program called Project 211 to turn 100 of them into world-class institutions. “Eventually, 116 universities were admitted to Project 211, forming an elite group of universities occupying 70% of national research funding and supervising 80% of doctoral students,” say Wei and co.


Question: How common are cash-per-publication incentives in different countries?

Are these pretty common or rare? Of course there are benefits; monetary and otherwise, an excellent publication track record can impact salary, tenure, side gigs (contracts, consulting) but here I'm only asking about explicit "cash-per-publication incentives".

Until there's some verification of that substantially large upper limit, I can't really ask "Is China exceptional in the size of its monetary incentives?" but I am curious about that.

2 Answers 2


In Denmark, part of the department's core funding is settled in proportion to its publication rate (per scientist) adjusted by journal scores (higher impact journals scoring more). The total sum handed out across all university departments in the country is constant however, so in effect there is competition among the departments. For me as a scientist in Denmark, personally, I couldn't care less. This is just yet another futile exercise of New Public Management.

  • Wow this is really a big load of crap dressed as an objective measure.
    – EarlGrey
    Aug 11, 2023 at 7:43
  • 2
    Indeed. I am not frustrated by the system itself (which I ignore effortlessly) but by the fact that government funds are being spent to maintain it. Aug 12, 2023 at 17:38

Normally a researcher does not make any money directly from the publications. It is possible to make money indirectly, like building up a reputation that could make getting a research grant later easier, or a better scientific position in the future (or any). Publications are the requirement for retaining the status of the researcher, problems are expected if the researcher does not have them, or they are too old. China is doing a very unusual thing.

No the question is, how easy is to get this money, maybe this is reserved for a few exceptional cases. But if a publication in reputable, international journal is enough, then it is probably a good time to start learning Chinese (be sure you pick a simplified one).

  • Be careful. The last part of the answer is problematic. "先生們" means "Gentlemen", some people may think this is not gender neutral. Second of all, it's in Traditional Chinese. Currently, mainland China is using Simplified Chinese. Only Taiwan and Hong Kong are using Traditional Chinese. I live in Taiwan. So I know. I won't downvote this answer. But, someone probably will.
    – Nobody
    Aug 10, 2023 at 11:01
  • I do not say I am expert in these languages, just that it is time to learn them. Shame to depart from traditions, from another side. Aug 10, 2023 at 11:21
  • Traditional vs Simplified was a big issue. It was Mao's idea. Most Chinese can read both. The problem is that the official version in main land China is simplified. Some users on this site know about this. I had to let you know. Anyway, +1.
    – Nobody
    Aug 10, 2023 at 11:29

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