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Competition over research funds and junior researchers in Japanese universities: evidence from a large-scale survey to corresponding authors of scientific publications from 2004 to 2012

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The National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) in Japan conducted a survey to corresponding authors, affiliated with Japanese organizations, of the scientific publications published during the period of 2004 to 2012. The survey asked about research funds and teams of research activities that produced scientific publications (the number of respondents is about 11 thousand and response rate is 53%).
The analyses of the survey revealed that research funds and teams that used in research activities vary depending on the affiliation sector and the affiliation university group that was defined by the publication share in Japan. The percentage of research activities that used extramural funds is the largest in the university group that has the largest publication share and tends to be smaller in the university groups with smaller publication share; however, the percentage of research activities that used extramural funds has been increasing in all university groups reflecting the increasing of the competitive funds in Japanese system. Analyses of the team composition show that junior researchers (bachelor/master’s students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows) are involved in the majority of research activities in universities; and therefore, the junior researchers play a crucial role in research. Each percentage of the involvement of the bachelor/master’s students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows also differs among the university groups and the research field. We also found that citation counts of the scientific publications correlates with both research funds and team composition.
In Japan, the number of doctoral course entrants has been decreasing ever since 2004 and weight of competitive funding has been increasing in the past decade, therefore our results suggest that how to attract and train junior researchers and secure stable funding are crucial to preserve research capability both in Japanese universities and academic societies.

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Competition over research funds and junior researchers in Japanese universities: evidence from a large-scale survey to corresponding authors of scientific publications from 2004 to 2012

  1. 1. Competition over research funds and junior researchers in Japanese universities: evidence from a large-scale survey to corresponding authors of scientific publications from 2004 to 2012 Masatsura IGAMI National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), Japan
  2. 2. • Japan’s presence in science is fading (Decline in various ranking). • The higher education sector, especially national universities, in Japan shows weak growth in R&D expenditure and the number of researchers compared to other major countries, e.g. Germany. 2 Backgrounds Introduction • The management expenses grants of national universities (block fund) were annually reduced by 1% since 2006 for about ten years. • Increasing weight of competitive funds. • The number of doctoral course entrants has been declining ever since 2003. https://www.natureindex.com/supplements/nature-index-2017-japan/index Japan’s status as a science superstar is vulnerable. nature INDEX 2017 JAPAN
  3. 3. • The NISTEP conducted various analyses from aspects of both inputs (researchers, research expenditure) and outputs (scientific papers). • Detailed information on research activities is needed for planning and implementation of STI policies and for research management in individual organization, especially for the design of incentive system and resource allocation. • Understanding of research activities in detail is also important to avoid simplified efficiency discussion (output/input). • Based on the above mentioned backgrounds, the NISTEP conducted the survey aiming to get detailed information on the research activities that produced scientific papers. 3 Purpose of this research Introduction Research activities Inputs Outputs
  4. 4. • The population of the survey: Articles published from 2004 to 2012 and the corresponding author is in Japan (Web of Science XML). • We randomly selected e-mail addresses of the corresponding authors (31,000 authors without duplication) from the population and sent the invitation to the survey by e-mail. • About 20,000 e-mails arrived to the authors and we got about 11,000 responses. Response rate in the arrived e-mails is 53%. The survey was conducted the end of 2013. • Information collected. – Corresponding author: Job title, employment status, … – Characteristics of research: Stage of research, type of research, … – Source of funds – Composition of authors 4 Overview of the survey Introduction
  5. 5. • In the survey, we asked respondents about the source of funds for the research activities that resulted in the focal papers. • Japanese funding system (Dual support system) 5 Source of funds Source of funds Type of research fund Intramural funds (excl. personnel cost) Own fund of the institution to which the authors belong Extramural funds (incl. personnel cost) External fund from the Japanese (national) government Open-type research funds for institutions (Global COE, WPI, etc.) Open-type research funds for projects Grant-in-aid for scientific research (KAKENHI) Health and Labour Sciences Research Grant Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) Others Non-open-type research funds (national projects led by the government, etc.) External funds from Japanese prefectural governments (other than the Japanese national government) External funds from foreign governments (not Japan) External funds from private enterprises External funds from other sources (foundations, etc.)
  6. 6. 6 Percentage of the source of funds by sector • The intramural fund and the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) are two largest funds in national, private, and public universities in Japan. Source of funds 38% 61% 50% 62% 89% 3% 4% 38% 21% 27% 11% 3% 5% 4% 4%4% 4% 6% 5% 8% 7% 5% 6% 12% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% National universities, etc. Private universities Public universities Public research institutions Private firms Intramural Extramural for organizations KAKENHI MHLW JST NEDO Private firms Other extramural Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research are competitive funds that are intended to significantly develop all scientific research (research based on the free ideas of the researcher), from basic to applied research in all fields, ranging from the humanities and the social sciences to the natural sciences. Intramural fund Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI)
  7. 7. 21% 40% 32% 45% 82% 36% 35% 35% 31% 14% 15% 12% 13% 8% 4% 3% 5% 15% 8% 10% 10% 3% 7% 3% 5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% National universities, etc. Private universities Public universities Public research institutions Private firms 01_Only intramural 02_Intramural+Extramural(1) 03_Intramural+Extramural(2) 04_Intramural+Extramural(3 or more) 05_Only extramural(1) 06_Only extramural(2) 07_Only extramural(3 or more) 7 Combination of the source of funds by sector • The percentage of research only used the intramural fund is the largest (82%) in the private firms, followed by public research institutions (45%), private universities (40%), public universities (32%), and national universities (21%). Source of funds +
  8. 8. • In 2012, there were 771 universities in Japan, 179 of them had more than 0.05% scientific paper share in Japan. 8 Categorization of universities with scientific paper share in Japan ● Group 1(5%~) 4 ● Group 2(1%~5%) 13 ● Group 3(0.5%~1%) 27 ● Group 4(0.05%~0.5%) 135 179 Tohoku University University of Tokyo Kyoto University Osaka University Source of funds National Public (local gov.) Private Group 1 4 0 0 Group 2 10 0 3 Group 3 18 4 5 Group 4 36 15 84
  9. 9. • The percentage of the research activities that only used the intramural funds decreased in 2010-2012 compared with that in 2004-2006 in all university groups. 9 Combination of the source of funds by university group (time series) Source of funds 3% 22% 27% 36% 39% 34% 36% 38% 35% 40% 16% 14% 15% 12% 9% 4% 4% 4% 4% 20% 15% 11% 8% 8% 11% 7% 4% 4% 3% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 01_Only intramural 02_Intramural+Extramural(1) 03_Intramural+Extramural(2) 04_Intramural+Extramural(3 or more) 05_Only extramural(1) 06_Only extramural(2) 07_Only extramural(3 or more) 16% 13% 11% 25% 20% 20% 29% 28% 23% 40% 33% 34% 38% 34% 29% 40% 37% 32% 39% 36% 40% 36% 36% 32% 14% 15% 17% 13% 14% 17% 14% 16% 14% 10% 14% 13% 3% 4% 4% 3% 5% 4% 5% 5% 3% 3% 6% 19% 20% 22% 12% 16% 17% 11% 9% 12% 7% 9% 10% 9% 12% 11% 5% 7% 8% 4% 3% 5% 3% 5% 5% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 Group1Group2Group3Group4 +
  10. 10. 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 10 Scientific papers by the source of funds Source of funds +3,022 Only Extramural +1,970 Intramural + Extramural (2 or more) -3,188 Intramural + Extramural (1) -6,095 Only intramural • Decline of the number of scientific papers that used only intramural fund is the largest and it likely main cause of the stagnation of the number of papers from Japan. Note: The result of population estimation using the results of the survey. +2,205 Corresponding authors who are located in abroad. +
  11. 11. • In the survey, we asked respondents about job title, affiliated sector, and employment status of all authors. • Not about individual author, but the number of authors that fits in the specific category, e.g., university-professor. 11 Composition of authors Composition of authors Junior researchers Professor or equivalents Associate professor or equivalents Assistant professor or equivalents Lecturer or equivalents Research assistant and technician Others Postdoctoral fellow PhD student Bachelor/master's student Job title Senior class researchers
  12. 12. 27% 46% 34% 59% 89% 19% 21% 19% 5% 3% 22% 15% 22% 5% 8% 5% 8% 9% 6% 7% 23% 6% 3% 3% 7% 3% 6% 4% 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% National universities, etc. Private universities Public universities Public research institutions Private firms No junior researchers (Only senior class) SC+Bachelor/master's students SC+PhD students SC+Bachelor/master's students +PhD students SC+Postdocs SC+Postdocs+Bachelor/master's students SC+Postdocs+PhD students SC+Junior researchers(All types) Only junior researchers 12 Combination of job titles of authors by sector Composition of authors  Junior researchers are participating in the majority of research activities in universities in Japan. The participation of the postdoctoral fellows is the highest in the public research institute. Note: Junior researchers: Bachelor/master's students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. “SC” means senior class researcher. +
  13. 13. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Group1 Group2 Group3 Group4 Othergroup Participationratio 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 2004_2006 2007_2009 2010_2012 Participationratio Junior researchers Postdocs PhD students Bachelor/master's students Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 • Degree of the participation of bachelor/master's students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows varies depending on the university group. • Higher participation ratio of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in university groups with higher share in scientific paper. 13 Participation of junior researchers by university group Composition of authors Note: Junior researchers: Bachelor/master's students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. “SC” means senior class researcher.
  14. 14. • Degree of the participation of junior researchers also varies depending on the field of science. 14 Participation of junior researchers by the field of science Composition of authors 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Chemistry Environment/Ecology SpaceScience Immunology MolecularBiology&… Biology&… AgriculturalSciences Microbiology Plant&Animal… MaterialsScience Physics Total Pharmacology&… Geosciences Engineering Neuroscience&… ClinicalMedicine ComputerScience Psychiatry/Psychology Mathematics Participationratio Postdocs PhD students Bachelor/master's students Junior researchers Note: Results of national universities, private universities, and public universities.
  15. 15. • Combining the information obtained from the survey and the citation information of the focal paper, we analyzed how research activities correlates to the citations. • In the following discussion, we used the percentage of top 10% highly cited papers in all papers, hereafter we call it "Q-value," as a proxy of the quality of the focal papers. • Top 10% highly cited papers are determined by field and publication year. 15 Citations and research activities Citations and research activities
  16. 16. • The observation shows that the number of extramural funds correlate to the “Q-value,” the understanding of casual relation would help policy making and management people. 16 “Q-value” of the focal papers by combination of the source of funds Note: “Q-value” is the percentage of top 10% highly cited papers in all papers. Results of universities and PRIs. Citations and research activities Extramural funds improved quality of research and resulted in the high impact outputs Researchers who can produce high impact outputs got more extramural funds Combination of the source of funds Q-value Weight in Top 10% highly cited papers 01_Only intramural 3.4% 16.7% 02_Intramural+Extramural(1) 5.3% 32.3% 03_Intramural+Extramural(2) 7.0% 15.8% 04_Intramural+Extramural(3 or more) 9.2% 5.8% 05_Only extramural(1) 7.7% 16.7% 06_Only extramural(2) 9.3% 9.0% 07_Only extramural(3 or more) 14.4% 3.8% Total 5.8% 100.0%
  17. 17. Participation of junior researchers Q-value Weight in Top 10% highly cited papers No junior researchers (Only senior class) 4.9% 30.4% With junior researchers 6.3% 69.6% SC+Junior researchers (All types) 8.5% 2.7% SC+Postdocs 8.4% 15.2% SC+Postdocs+PhD students 7.9% 8.0% Only junior researchers 6.3% 0.6% SC+Postdocs+Bachelor/master's students 6.1% 2.9% SC+PhD students 6.1% 19.6% SC+Bachelor/master's students+PhD students 5.9% 6.9% SC+Bachelor/master's students 4.5% 13.7% Total 5.8% 100.0% • “Q-value” of the focal papers is higher in research teams with junior researchers compared with research teams without junior researchers. • “Q-value” also depends on the type of junior researchers participated in the research team. 17 “Q-value” of the focal papers by composition of authors Citations and research activities Note: “SC” means senior class researcher. “Q-value” is the percentage of top 10% highly cited papers in all papers. Results of universities and PRIs.
  18. 18. • From this survey, understanding of the process connecting inputs and outputs in Japanese S&T system has advanced. • In particular, this research revealed the fact that funds and teams used for research activities differed among university groups and the composition of funds and teams has been changing over time. • Junior researchers play crucial role. Therefore, how to attract and train junior researchers are crucial to preserve and strengthen research capability both in Japanese universities and research communities. • The usage of competitive funds correlates with the “Q-value” of the focal papers. 18 Summary Summary
  19. 19. • However, there is a compensation between the quality and the volume of scientific papers at national level. • This effect is especially remarkable in the country like Japan where the volume of the R&D expenditures shows moderate growth and the balance of block fund and competitive fund has been changing. • Considering the increasing dependence on competitive funds, how to preserve continuity of research, especially start-up of research, is important. • In addition to this, difference in resource indicates the optimal research management differs depending on the circumstance of university. 19 Summary, cont. Summary
  20. 20. • In the future, a more dynamic analysis of research activities is necessary. • Is there optimal balance between intramural and extramural funds? • How changes in the source of funds affect the behavior of researchers, resulting in changes in research activities in Japan. • Research funding sources and research diversity. • Understanding the influence of various policies on researcher’s behavior. • Distribution mechanism of research fund (individual, institution, research community) and management of university. • ... 20 Future works Summary
  21. 21. SUPPLEMENTAL SLIDES 21
  22. 22. 22 Framework of the survey Bibliographic information of the focal papers • Percentile of citation counts [top 10% highly cited] Citations counts as of the end of 2015 were used. It takes time until citation counts stabilize. Database analyses based on the Web of Science Information about research activities that produced the focal papers • Corresponding author: Job title, employment status, … • Characteristics of research: Stage of research, type of research, … • Source of funds • Composition of authors Survey to corresponding authors Focal papers (Publication year 2004 - 2012) Web of Science XML (SCIE, As of the end of 2015) Introduction
  23. 23. • The intramural funds and the KAKENHI are two major sources of funds in all groups. The percentage of the extramural funds is higher in the university groups with smaller publication share. 23 Percentage of the source of funds by university group Source of funds 28% 40% 47% 56% 58% 4% 3% 3% 45% 38% 32% 24% 26% 7% 4% 4% 5% 5% 7% 6% 5% 7% 7% 6% 6% 5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Other group Intramural Extramural for organizations KAKENHI MHLW JST NEDO Private firms Other extramural Intramural fund Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI)
  24. 24. • The percentage of research activities that only used the extramural funds is higher in the university groups with larger publication share. • About half of research activities used both of intramural and extramural funds in all university groups. 24 Combination of the source of funds by university group Source of funds 13% 22% 27% 36% 39% 34% 36% 38% 35% 40% 16% 14% 15% 12% 9% 4% 4% 4% 4% 20% 15% 11% 8% 8% 11% 7% 4% 4% 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Other group 01_Only intramural 02_Intramural+Extramural(1) 03_Intramural+Extramural(2) 04_Intramural+Extramural(3 or more) 05_Only extramural(1) 06_Only extramural(2) 07_Only extramural(3 or more) +
  25. 25. • “Unknown because the intramural fund was allocated to group” has been decreasing and “Intramural fund was not allocated because of the contract” has been increasing over time in all job titles. 25 Allocation of the intramural funds by job title Allocation of the intramural funds Note: We asked about the amount of intramural funds and the job title in 2000, 2005, and 2013 to respondents who were affiliated in university at that time. 30% 35% 41% 39% 48% 56% 47% 53% 63% 46% 50% 57% 5% 7% 10% 7% 7% 9% 6% 5% 7% 7% 8% 10% 65% 58% 49% 55% 44% 35% 47% 42% 29% 47% 42% 33% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 Group1Group2Group3Group4 Intramural fund was allocated Intramural fund was not allocated because of the contract Unknown because the intramural fund was allocated to group • The percentage of “Intramural fund was allocated” declined by 5 points in lecturers and increased by 10 points in associate professors in about 10 years. 65% 67% 67% 51% 52% 54% 33% 31% 28% 20% 23% 30% 3% 5% 4% 8% 9% 12% 21% 11% 15% 19% 33% 30% 27% 47% 44% 38% 58% 56% 51% 68% 62% 51% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 2000 2005 2013 Professors Associate professorsLecturers Assistant professors Intramural fund was allocated Intramural fund was not allocated because of the contract Unknown because the intramural fund was allocated to group
  26. 26. 26 Amount of intramural funds by job title (time series) Note: We asked about the amount of intramural funds and the job title in 2000, 2005, and 2013 to respondents who were affiliated in university at that time. 1 EUR = 130 JPY • Median amount of research expense covered by the intramural funds declined in almost all job classes. Professors of the national university received about 8,000 euros in 2013 from the intramural funds. (a) Amount of intramural funds in each fiscal year (Universities) Median (Euro) 2000 2005 2013 Professor class 13,800 10,800 7,700 Associate professor class 7,700 6,200 4,600 Lecturer class 3,800 4,600 4,600 Assistant professor class 3,800 3,100 3,500 All class 7,700 7,700 6,200 (b) Amount of intramural funds in each fiscal year (National universities) Median (Euro) 2000 2005 2013 Professor class 11,500 9,200 7,700 Associate professor class 6,900 6,200 4,600 Lecturer class 3,800 3,800 4,200 Assistant professor class 3,800 3,100 3,200 All class 7,700 6,900 6,200 Allocation of the intramural funds
  27. 27. 27 Combination of job titles of authors by university group Composition of authors • The percentage of research teams with junior researchers is around 70% in the university groups 1, 2, and 3. The composition of junior researchers is different by university group. Note: Junior researchers: Bachelor/master's students, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. “SC” means senior class researcher. 27% 25% 29% 41% 50% 16% 19% 23% 21% 21% 23% 26% 20% 17% 16% 8% 8% 10% 6% 5% 10% 8% 7% 7% 5% 3% 4% 3% 3% 9% 7% 6% 4% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Other group No junior researchers (Only senior class) SC+Bachelor/master's students SC+PhD students SC+Bachelor/master's students +PhD students SC+Postdocs SC+Postdocs+Bachelor/master's students SC+Postdocs+PhD students SC+Junior researchers(All types) Only junior researchers +

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