A survey of 48,000 Chinese researchers suggests that the majority write academic papers solely to boost their promotion prospects, while many are unhappy with the way their scientific contributions are assessed.

More than 93% of respondents to the survey – which is carried out every five years by the China Academy of Science and Technology (Cast) – said getting promoted was their major motivation to publish, while nearly half said the way authorities appraised scientific research was misleading. The South China Morning Post reported that some researchers believe the ‘publish or perish’ culture is encouraging misconduct, pointing to recent retraction scandals and cases of plagiarism involving Chinese researchers.

Earlier this year an analysis of Stem research in China identified the evaluation system as one of five major challenges facing research in the country, with institutions placing too much importance on the quantity of publications in high-ranked journals, rather than the quality of research.

The Cast survey also indicates researchers work more hours in a week on average than they did five years ago and that although salaries have risen by around 20%, fewer researchers are happy with their income.