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Vietnam’s low level of research productivity is especially pronounced in the humanities and social sciences. Though previous research has suggested various possible explanations, to date there has been no detailed investigation of the topic. This investigation explored the publishing experiences of a selected sample group of 20 high-achieving and well-regarded Vietnamese scholars from the humanities and social sciences. For these participants, a commitment to research and publishing derived mainly from a personal sense of academic identity, a desire to complement their teaching role by doing research, and a wish to contribute to Vietnam’s social and economic development through their research. Few of them reported feeling institutional pressure to publish, though some reported that their university was now providing financial incentives for publishing in high-impact journals. Disincentives to publishing included funding limitations, and especially limitations associated with approval mechanisms within universities. Interference with the freedom to publish was reported to occur, but none of the participants appeared to be too concerned about political censorship. It was widely considered to be easier to have research reported in national than in international peer-reviewed journals because of the difference in academic standards. A lack of confidence with writing in English was also reported by some participants to be a constraint on publishing in international journals.
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