Opportunities and opportunism: Publication outlet selection under pressure to increase research productivity

ÖNDER Ç., Erdil S. E.

RESEARCH EVALUATION, vol.26, no.2, pp.66-77, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/reseval/rvx006
  • Title of Journal : RESEARCH EVALUATION
  • Page Numbers: pp.66-77


Literature occasionally depicts undesirable consequences of research evaluation, most importantly overprovision of low-quality research. Such inadvertent outcomes are explained with reference to shortcomings of evaluation systems that allow researchers to game the system to reap promised rewards. However, why researchers choose to behave opportunistically rather than comply with the underlying mandate of doing more and higher-quality scientific research goes unexplained. This article introduces career constraints imposed by peers with shared departmental affiliation and career imprints forged during doctoral training as antecedents of a particular manifestation of opportunism. We use data on publications of Turkish professors of management in journals covered by the principal journal citation database monitored by national policymakers. We distinguish articles published in the so-called regional journals from those in international or Turkish ones. We operationalize opportunism as selection of former group of journals as publication outlet, which have arguably displayed weaker quality concerns and constituted easy targets, some of which even earned a reputation as being predatory. Empirical analyses provide support for the claim that career constraints or imprints that buttress higher-quality scientific research make selection of regional journals over others less likely. We discuss the implications of our findings for literature as well as policy.