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Boozy Boffins Publish Less

Boozy Boffins Publish Less

By Claire Chmarny

A study has shown that researchers who happen to spend a great deal of time down the pub, produce a lower number of papers. According to ecologist Tomáš Grim, there is a correlation between the amount of beer drunk and the quality (or lack of it) of scientists’ research.

Grim's study set out to determine whether social activities play a part in the quality of publications, and as he points out, “One of the most frequent social activities in the world is drinking alcohol”.

The research was carried out in two different areas of Czech Republic. Since the country has the highest per capita beer consumption rate in the world it was the perfect candidate.

Grim found that the researchers who drank more beer per year had lower numbers of papers, total citations (mentions of their research in other scientists’ work), and citations per paper.

The obvious short-term consequences of a heavy night on the lash were mentioned as part of the problem alongside more long-term effects such as depression and lack of co-operation with others.

Decreased quality of papers was also linked with the employability of the researcher. It therefore suggested that drinking copious amounts of beer might not only affect the current paper being published, but the researcher’s future financial income and social status.

So will this revealing study put scientists off their pints? I very much doubt it.

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05 May 2010
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