Not All Scientists Pay to Be Scientists: PhDs’ Preferences for Publishing in Industrial Employment

16 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2015

See all articles by Henry Sauermann

Henry Sauermann

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Michael Roach

Cornell University

Date Written: September 10, 2013


It is often assumed that academically trained scientists have a strong taste for science and are willing to “pay” for the ability to openly disclose their research results. However, little is known regarding how scientists considering jobs in industrial R&D make trade-offs between positions that allow publishing on the one hand and positions that do not allow publishing but offer higher pay on the other. Using data on over 1,900 science and engineering PhD candidates about to enter the job market, we find that while some are unwilling to give up publishing at virtually any price, over one third of those most likely to seek positions in industrial research are willing to forego publishing for free. We develop a simple model of the “price” scientists assign to publishing in firms and explore potential sources of heterogeneity empirically. We find that the price of publishing increases with individuals’ preferences for various benefits from publishing such as peer recognition and contributing to society, but it decreases with their preference for money. Scientists who believe themselves to be of high ability and who train at top tier institutions have a higher price of publishing. Yet, they are more expensive to hire (not less) even if publishing is allowed. We discuss implications for research on the economics of science and on compensating differentials, for managers seeking to attract and retain academically trained personnel, and for firms considering their participation in open science.

Keywords: preferences, publishing, compensating differentials, secrecy, open science

JEL Classification: J24, J31, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Sauermann, Henry and Roach, Michael, Not All Scientists Pay to Be Scientists: PhDs’ Preferences for Publishing in Industrial Employment (September 10, 2013). Research Policy, 2014, Volume 43, Issue 1, Pages 32-47, Available at SSRN: or

Henry Sauermann (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin

Michael Roach

Cornell University ( email )

Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
SC Johnson College of Business
Ithaca, NY
United States

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