Study reveals ‘cash for papers’ rewards in China

Person holding Chinese banknotes
Cash in hand: Chinese researchers were paid up to $165,000 per paper

Chinese researchers were paid an average of $43,000 in 2016 for each paper published in Nature and Science, according to a study by information specialists in China and Canada.

Wei Quan from Wuhan University, Bikun Chen at Nanjing University of Science and Technology and Fei Shu at McGill University analysed 168 “cash-per-publication” policies at 100 Chinese universities from 1999 to 2016. The researchers found that Chinese universities offer cash rewards ranging from $30 to $165,000 for papers that are published in journals indexed by Web of Science, with the average amount increasing over the past decade. The largest payouts were for Nature and Science papers, with the average award increasing 67% from $26,212 in 2008 to $43,783 in 2016.

Negotiable awards

They also note that in some cases the amount of cash available for such papers was “negotiable”. Payments for publication in other journals were significantly lower, with the average cash award for a paper published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences $3513 in 2016, increasing slightly from $3156 in 2008.


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