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Impact factors: Payment by results

Money makes the world go round, as the song goes, and the research world is no exception. But a number of countries and institutions are now rewarding researchers based directly on the journals in which they publish, fuelling fears that academia’s unhealthy obsession with publication metrics is worsening.

Such practices have traditionally been unheard of in Europe, but there is evidence that they might be spreading to the continent.

University researchers at some institutions in China can earn bonuses of up to $165,000 (€147,000) for publishing papers in Nature or Science. In Australia, the University of New South Wales Canberra last year introduced a scheme that rewards researchers with up to A$10,000 (€6,300) in extra funding for the same feat.

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