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Publish or perish: how Central and Eastern European economists have dealt with the ever-increasing academic publishing requirements 2000–2015

Abstract

While “publish or perish” has been an integral part of academic research in Western countries for several decades, the phenomenon has made its way to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) only recently. The current paper shows how publishing criteria in the field of economics and business have developed in seven CEE countries since 2000 and how economists have responded by altering their publishing behavior. The research indicates a dichotomous development: on one hand the annual number of Web of Science publications has increased by 317% between 2000 and 2015, economists distribute their works across a wider range of journals than before, they are more cited and the weighted average of impact factors of all journals where they publish has risen by 228%. On the other hand, however, a number of economists have chosen an opposite strategy and publish mostly in local or “predatory” journals. Recommendations for policy makers are provided on how to maximize the benefits and minimize negative impacts of the publishing criteria.

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Fig. 1

Source Web of Science (2016). As of 8th April 2016

Fig. 2

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 3

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 4

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 5

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 6

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 7

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 8

Source Web of Science (2016). Own calculations

Fig. 9

Source Web of Science (2017). As of 10th January 2017. WoS Business & Economics data, SCI-EX, SSCI and A&HCI databases, articles only. Own calculations

Notes

  1. For the purposes of this paper, the CEE region consists of four Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) and three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).

  2. These journals are Ekonomicky casopis, Ekonomicko-matematicky obzor, Politicka ekonomie (Czechoslovakia) and Acta Oeconomica (Hungary).

  3. Please note that as indicated in the “Data and methodology” section, conference papers and books were excluded from the statistics.

  4. In Czech Republic, “Politicka ekonomie” published six issues in 2000, “Finance a uver” 12 issues and Slovakia´s “Ekonomicky casopis” six issues.

  5. 2007: Agricultural Economics (CZE), Inzinerine Ekonomika (LTU), Technological and Economic Development of Economy (LTU), Journal of Business Economics and Management (LTU), Acta Oeconomica (HUN); 2008: Ekonomie a management (CZE), Prague Economic Papers (CZE), Ekonomista (POL), Baltic Journal of Management (LTU), Argumenta Oeconomica (POL).

  6. Having worked in the Slovak academic environment for the last 8 years, the lead author of this paper can attest that both answers are correct. Moreover, an additional factor to take into account are young economists who more often than not choose to submit their first paper to a local journal.

  7. Top journals often state in their editorial policies that they “do not publish articles that are essentially in-depth studies of a specific country, region, case” (Journal of Development Economics) or similar disclaimers. Topics which are of interest for the readers of local journals are often not relevant for broader readership.

  8. The two exceptions are the Baltic Journal of Management (Lithuania) and the Baltic Journal of Economics (Latvia), where mostly Estonian authors published.

  9. See for example Seglen (1997) or Callaway´s recent (2016) paper in Nature for discussion.

  10. As is standard when using Herfindahl index in economics, values close to one indicate high level of concentration whereas values near zero indicate high level of diversification.

  11. When analyzing co-authorship data one has to take into account that a high number of authors (especially in the fields of economics and business, where it is not usual) might not only be a result of a high level of research collaboration, but also an indication of possible honorary authorship.

  12. Journal self-cites reached 33% for the Transformations in Business & Economics, 34% for Inzinerine ekonomika and 16% for Technological and Economic Development of Economy. Similar cases can be found in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where local journals Ekonomicky casopis and Politicka ekonomie had self-citation rates of 43% and 39% in the studied period (Web of Science 2017). However, given that the two journals published mostly papers in local languages, this is not surprising.

  13. For example, 53% of documents citing papers published in Inzinerine ekonomika were published in Lithuanian journals. Again, similar situation can be found in Slovakia and the Czech Republic (Web of Science 2017).

  14. After the present paper was accepted, the list previously available on https://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/ has been discontinued in the beginning of 2017. However, copies can still be found online.

  15. Compare number of papers published by the CEE journals in 2012: Actual Problems of Economics 823, Ekonomicky casopis 75, Transformations in Business & Economics 68, E & M Ekonomie a management 58, Ekonomista 58, Zemedelska ekonomika 56, Politicka ekonomie 53, Inzinerine ekonomika 53, Journal of business economics and management 52, Acta oeconomica 41, Technological and economic development of economy 38, Prague economic papers 31, Argumenta oeconomica 28, Finance a uver 26, Baltic journal of management 26, International journal of strategic property management, Baltic journal of economics 17 (Web of Science 2016).

  16. Of course, officially they are bullet-proof. However, based on numerous personal experiences of the lead author and his colleagues, they take one of the following forms: (1) The editor herself reads the paper and offers some superficial comments. (2) The authors are asked to provide their own referee reports written by an expert in their field. This can be evidenced by e-mail exchanges with the editor.

  17. As of February 2017, it appears the journal has been discontinued by Scopus.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dr. Balázs Szent-Iványi from Corvinus University of Budapest for his valuable Hungary-related contribution to this paper. We also thank two anonymous referees for their detailed reports and suggestions. As always, we are responsible for any remaining mistakes.

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Correspondence to Martin Grančay.

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Grančay, M., Vveinhardt, J. & Šumilo, Ē. Publish or perish: how Central and Eastern European economists have dealt with the ever-increasing academic publishing requirements 2000–2015. Scientometrics 111, 1813–1837 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2332-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2332-z

Keywords

  • Academic publishing
  • Web of Science
  • Scopus
  • Impact factor
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • “Predatory” journal

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 00-02

JEL Classification

  • I20
  • I23