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Short-Termism in Science: Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework

43 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2017 Last revised: 17 Jan 2018

Moqi Groen-Xu

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Pedro A. Teixeira

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science

Thomas Voigt

Independent

Bernhard Knapp

University of Oxford; UIC Barcelona

Date Written: December 6, 2017

Abstract

Research evaluations are essential for allocating resources, yet their deadlines can affect scientific output. We document increases in research output quantity – accompanied by decreases in quality – near the time of government-set deadlines for university evaluations. For such evaluations, researchers submit (on average) 35% more papers that were published in the year preceding a deadline than in the year following that deadline. This effect is more pronounced for slower-paced fields, and pre-deadline publications receive (on average) 12% fewer citations. We conclude that evaluation deadlines may reduce the quality of research, highlighting the importance of an appropriate length for evaluation periods.

Suggested Citation

Groen-Xu, Moqi and Teixeira, Pedro A. and Voigt, Thomas and Knapp, Bernhard, Short-Termism in Science: Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework (December 6, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3083692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3083692

Moqi Groen-Xu (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Pedro Alexandre Teixeira

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science ( email )

14195 Berlin
Germany

Thomas Voigt

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Bernhard Knapp

University of Oxford; UIC Barcelona ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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