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Boosting research productivity in top Russian universities: the circumstances of breakthrough

Andrey E. Guskov (), Denis V. Kosyakov and Irina V. Selivanova
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Andrey E. Guskov: Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Denis V. Kosyakov: Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Irina V. Selivanova: Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Scientometrics, 2018, vol. 117, issue 2, 1053-1080

Abstract: Abstract The Russian project for enhancing competitive ability enforced top 21 universities to stimulate the research output actively. The results surpassed expectations with the fivefold increase in the number of publications from 2010 to 2016. This paper discusses the background and reasons for this phenomenal rise and explores in detail the most significant strategies to boost research productivity and publication output. In our study, a classification of university publications is proposed in accordance with the strategies for stimulating the publication activity, mainly corresponding with the set of measures applied by university management. The analysis made it possible to rank the strategies for contributing to the growth of publication activity, to identify the leading strategies for individual universities, and showed a significant difference between universities in the set of explicitly or implicitly applied strategies. The most effective strategy was the Additional paper, associated with the authors, indicated the affiliation of the university as complementary to their main institution. The next most important and fastest growing was the Russian conferences strategy thanks to the efforts of the organizers of domestic conferences to promote their proceedings in Scopus. A notable place is also occupied by the strategy connected with the attraction of prominent authors, which we called Headhunted author. It was possible to determine the role of the Predatory journals strategy in the growth of the publication activity, fortunately, this strategy turned out to be highly localized in only 2 of the 21 universities participating in the project and is visibly declining. It was possible to show that the share of publications in domestic journals, despite the constant increase in their presence in Scopus is steadily falling in the case of leading universities. One of the significant results of the study is an assessment of the dynamics of the average authors’ productivity, which grows insignificantly and almost reached one article per author per year. This fact also shows that the growth of publication activity of top Russian universities is mainly associated with an increase in the number of faculty involved.

Keywords: Research output; Russian universities; University rankings; Bibliometric analysis; Science policy; Research evaluation; 5top100 project (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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