In countries like
Chinaand the drive to increase the number of publications by offering incentives can be dangerously corrupting. Some institutions offer monetary incentives for publishing papers, scaled by journal impact factors. There cannot be a better catalyst for promoting dubious practices in science. In India , a bloated reward system offers monetary incentives of various kinds, ostensibly for enhancing research performance. The monthly bonus offered to scientists who are elected to fellowships of two academies or those who receive CSIR’s Bhatnagar awards are examples of schemes that will promote a scramble for these accolades. The DST’s J. C. Bose Fellowship, which should really provide stable research support, now carries an enhanced monthly bonus. This profusion of monetary incentives for ‘performing scientists’ has distorted the view of many researchers. A long list of publications, preferably in journals with high impact factors, is sometimes desirable in order to enter the ‘circle of recognition’. For a privileged few, pedigree and connections may suffice. Some years ago none of this may have really mattered. Unfortunately, attaching a regular monetary bonus to Academy fellowships, the J. C. Bose fellowship and Bhatnagar awards distorts the view of many practitioners of science. Research must be enjoyable, satisfying and intellectually stimulating. Publications must be a measure of the enthusiasm that scientists have for their disciplines. The pursuit of recognition and reward cannot become an end in itself. India
A similar sentiment is echoed in an article by my colleagues, Diptiman Sen and S. Ramasesha and in another article by A. Pasupathy. For example, they state,
One can surely think of many reasonable ways of encouraging high quality research without giving long-term personal rewards for work done over a period of about 10-15 years. Therefore, paying an honorarium to individuals seems to be a particularly ham-handed way of recognizing scientific merit.