Beyond the Scopus Frenzy: Policy Alternatives to Incentivize Academic Publications

Abstract

In recent years, academic productivity as defined by number of papers published has been the preoccupation of Indonesian research policymakers. A number of policies have been introduced, the most prominent of which is assigning score to number of publications and citations through SINTA. These initiatives, however, have often ignored the complex and heavily bureaucratized Indonesian research and higher education sector. Recently, SINTA score has also perversely incentivized some researchers to illegally increase their Scopus score. This paper is a preliminary attempt at assessing policy alternatives to address the issue of low number of academic publications, asking if there are viable or even better policies than the current point system. Incorporating Indonesia’s academic demography into our analysis, we find that giving monetary rewards for every published paper is the best policy option for lower-rank academics to “push” them into research. On the other hand, point rewards are most effective for upper-rank academics since they only need to be “nudged” into research activities. We also offer several recommendations about other policy alternatives (reforming research grants regime, providing international scholarships, and research collaboration) and the importance of detection and monitoring system to prevent the alternatives from becoming perverse incentives.

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