Sunday, November 15, 2015

Neuroimaging Study of Neuroscientists' Reactions to Journal Impact Factors

Well, we seem to be getting a bit meta here...

A group of scientists has conducted a neuroimaging study of neuroscientists' reactions to journal impact factors.

Here is a short excerpt from the body of the paper: "Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined the brain activity of N = 18 neuroscientists during the anticipation of their own publication."

And here is the paper's abstract:

The incentive structure of a scientist’s life is increasingly mimicking economic principles. While intensely criticized, the journal impact factor (JIF) has taken a role as the new currency for scientists. Successful goal-directed behavior in academia thus requires knowledge about the JIF. Using functional neuroimaging we examined how the JIF, as a powerful incentive in academia, has shaped the behavior of scientists and the reward signal in the striatum. We demonstrate that the reward signal in the nucleus accumbens increases with higher JIF during the anticipation of a publication and found a positive correlation with the personal publication record (pJIF) supporting the notion that scientists have incorporated the predominant reward principle of the scientific community in their reward system. The implications of this behavioral adaptation within the ecological niche of the scientist’s habitat remain unknown, but may also have effects which were not intended by the community.

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