Impact-oriented science policies and scientific publication practices: The case of life sciences in Japan

Sotaro Shibayama, Yasunori Baba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The modern science system relies on intense evaluation of scientific publication, in which scientific impact is highly emphasized, but its contribution to the progress of science has been controversial. Focusing on two aspects of the science system, resource allocation and academic career design, this study explores whether these policies, presumably aiming at high-impact research, actually achieve the goal. Drawing on in-depth interviews and econometric analyses of Japanese biology professors, this study first shows that merit-based resource allocation can result in biased resource allocation, and that excessive resource concentration can facilitate low-impact publications. Second, results show that a lack of mobility, in particular inbreeding, increases low-impact publications, while international mobility decreases it. The latter effect is found to be mediated by fewer publications in low-impact journals, and thus, internationally mobile academics seem to decide the publication destination more strategically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-950
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Administration Studies
  • Economics

Free keywords

  • evaluation
  • impact factor
  • publication
  • science policy
  • scientific production


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