Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2021, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (10): 77-102.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2021.10.007

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Relatives are not Avoided When Talents are Demanded: Does Insider Characteristics Reduce the Quality and Influence of Academic Papers? Examples from Mainland China

Yishan Li1, Jinsong Liu2   

  1. 1. Department of Education & National Institutes of Educational Policy Research in Faculty of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. College of Eudcation, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
  • Online:2021-10-20 Published:2021-09-27


Along with the increased level of competition for academic publication, there is a growing debate about the preference for insider manuscripts in academic journals, however, there has been no empirical research to discuss the effect of insider manuscripts on the quality and influence of academic papers in educational research. This study is based on data of 923, 901 papers published in educational academic research journals in mainland China from 2001 to 2019 and textual evidence from 80 interviewees, based on the framework of “cost-benefit” mechanism, rational decision-making perspective and the concept of transaction cost, a research hypothesis and two research assumptions on the effect of insider characteristic on the quality and influence of academic papers are proposed and verified by the combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis of mixed research pattern. The study found that (1) the influence and quality of insider manuscripts are better than that of outsiders in most “Period * Catalog * Download/Cite” sections. (2) From far to near, the insider effect has a different trend in different plates, the effect in CSSCI changed from negative to positive, in CSSCI-E and PKU-CCJ changed from positive to negative, fluctuates in general journals. (3) There is a mediating/indirect effect of the influence of insider characteristic on the total utility of quality, the mediating/indirect effect varies by section, and there is a masking effect, attention should be paid to the mediating/indirect effect of influence on value discovery. (4) The insider characteristic in the middle and low range has more negative effect than that of the middle and high range, the insider characteristic in the middle and high range shows more positive effect than that in the middle and low range. (5) In terms of quality and influence, the fake insider characteristic of outsider characteristic show a downward trend compared with that of insider characteristic, but better than real outsider characteristic, it is not simply a negative definition of monopoly. (6) The opinions of academic journals, reviewers and paper authors on insider manuscripts and their corresponding actions are obviously different with the individual's internal characteristic and external environment. Synthesizing the above analysis, this study argues that it is not possible to simply identify that insider manuscripts with insider characteristic significantly reduce the quality and influence of academic papers, which needs to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. At the same time, when the characteristic of insider help academic journals to reduce transaction costs with paper authors, the contribution proportion of insider increases in the middle and low sections and decreases in the middle and high sections as the cost, and such cost varies with different sections. Based on the above research results, this study puts forward suggestions on strengthening internal processes, improving decision-making performance and improving quality and influence from the perspective of procedural and substantive fairness for academic journals, and puts forward suggestions on enhancing research level and building professional reputation for paper authors.

Key words: academic evaluation, achievement performance, cost-benefit, KHB mediating effect analysis, quantile regression, qualitative research