Higher Education Policy

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 583–605 | Cite as

How the World-Class University Project Affects Scientific Productivity? Evidence from a Survey of Faculty Members in China

  • Xi YangEmail author
  • You YouEmail author
Original Article


Using a survey of faculty members from 30 public universities in China, this study examines the influence of the world-class university (WCU) project on faculty member’s scientific productivity under the perspectives of globalization and national demands. In general, the results support the globalization dimension of the WCU project in China. The WCU project exhibits a positive effect on international publications, but has no significant impact on domestic publications and technology transfer. In addition, it is found that a high level of WCU funding is associated with more patents, while a low level of WCU funding has no influence on patents. The study also explores the indirect effects of the WCU project. It is found that the WCU project has enhanced the effect of non-government research funding on academic publications. Moreover, the WCU institutions put emphasis on attracting talents from abroad, but there is no evidence that researchers from abroad are more productive than domestic researchers in science and engineering fields.


world-class university scientific productivity globalization of higher education research funding 



The authors thank Prof. Fenqiao Yan for the data and advice. We are also grateful to Prof. Junwen Zhu and Dr. Yin Li for their comments on earlier drafts of this research.


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China [71503167 and 71503013]; Philosophy and Social Science Research Projects of Shanghai [2015EJY001] and Special Research Funding for Humanity and Social Science in Shanghai Jiao Tong University [16JCWH18].


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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