Faculty salary at Korean universities: Does publication Matter?


This paper investigates empirically the role of research publications in an academic reward structure in Korea. Our sample includes 145 universities and colleges in Korea. Publication data for the academic year of 2012 show that top-tier research schools published more in international journals, while domestic journal publications were dominated by second-tier universities. The salary effects were identified using multiple regression models. We found that changes in faculty salary were determined significantly by international journal publications, but domestic journal publications had little effect on changes in salary. The use of an instrumental variable reconfirmed that the causal effect of international journal publications on a salary rise was positive and significant.

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  1. 1.

    The academic year in Korea begins in March and ends in February of the following year.

  2. 2.

    Here, PUBSCI includes publications in international refereed journals that are recognized by SCI, SSCI, and SCOPUS (Korea Research Foundation, 2012).

  3. 3.

    If individual faculty profiles were used as in the U.S. literature, the results would be opposite, i.e. negatively related between publication and salary in Korea. Junior members publish more but get paid less, while senior members get paid a lot but have little incentives to publish. These are all because of the fixed salary scale in Korea. In this case, the relationship between faculty salary and research publication is expected to be negative.

  4. 4.

    That is, another 50 % were taught by part-time instructors. Although this ratio is commonly upheld in Korea, some private universities hire even more part-time faculties to save school budgets. In this case, per capita publications turned out to be unreasonably high for these schools because the size of full-time faculty members was too small. These schools were thus excluded.

  5. 5.

    The difficulty levels would be even >5 times if all research schools focused on domestic journals only. In other words, a fine research scholar who publishes one international journal article per year can publish more than five domestic journal articles per year without much difficulty. Even a 10 times more weight on international journals may still underestimate her/his research performance if published in top-tier journals (Conley and Onder 2014).

  6. 6.

    The three extreme values were, however, not influential outliers and thus all of them were included for estimation.

  7. 7.

    Unlike our general perception, English is not a barrier to publish in international journals (Jin and Jin 2014). As long as new theories and empirics are found, the findings can be translated into English anytime with the help of professional editors.

  8. 8.

    A multicollinearity problem must have arisen in Model (4) because of a relatively high correlation between medical schools and international journal publications (r = 0.406). Thus, we simply dropped the medical school dummy.

  9. 9.

    It will be desirable to include more IVs such as tenure review systems and government educational policies, but appropriate data are not available in public.

  10. 10.

    Competitive research grants are supposed to be funded based only on the merit of research proposals, but fine scholars with good publication records are normally funded. If no decent papers in his/her record, little chances will be given. Hence, the true causal relationship might be bidirectional: PUBSCI causes grant that, in turn, causes PUBSCI.


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The authors are grateful to Jean-heon Hong, Do-young Kim, and Jun-soo Park for the collection of a data set, and to Lawrence Jin, Olivia Jin, Jong-gun Kim and other seminar participants at the 2015 Midwest Economics Association Meeting for helpful comments. This research was supported by a grant from National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean government for the second author (NRF-2013S1A3A2054928).

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Correspondence to Jang C. Jin.

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Jin, J.C., Cho, J.R. Faculty salary at Korean universities: Does publication Matter?. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev. 16, 343–351 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-015-9382-9

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  • Faculty salary
  • Research publication
  • Higher education