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This article aims to reveal the features of research culture in Vietnamese universities, through various indicators. It shows that among factors impacting the formation of research culture in Vietnamese universities are state-related ones, including policies, regulations, norms and traditions for university research. The state-related factors have contributed to bettering the qualifications of lecturers, recognizing faculty’s research works with financial and non-financial rewards, strengthening the cooperation between universities with external research partners, and increasing the number of publications. Yet, at the same time, different problems stem from the existence of some state-related factors including the nation’s tradition of spending less on higher education than on basic education and less on universities than on research institutes, the lack of autonomy among universities, the almost ultimate power of the university rector, and the use of the historically-negotiated recurrent approach for allocating research funding to universities. Given the fact that Vietnam’s higher education is highly regulated by the state, changes to research culture in universities must accompany changes to the state-related factors believed to influence the formation of research culture.
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