, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 481–503 | Cite as

What’s wrong with Science?

Modeling the collective discovery processes with the Nobel game
  • David ChavalariasEmail author


There is an increasing pressure on scholars to publish to further or sustain a career in academia. Governments and funding agencies are greedy of indicators based on scientific production to measure science output. But what exactly do we know about the relation between publication levels and advances in science? How do social dynamics and norms interfere with the quality of the scientific production? Are there different regimes of scientific dynamics? The present study proposes some concepts to think about scientific dynamics, through the modeling of the relation between science policies and scholars’ exploration–exploitation dilemmas. Passing, we analyze in detail the effects of the “publish or perish” policy, that turns out to have no significant effects in the developments of emerging scientific fields, while having detrimental impacts on the quality of the production of mature fields.


Collective discovery Distributed knowledge Social dynamics Science dynamics Publish or perish Reproducibility Science policy 

Mathematics Subject Classification

MSC 00A71 MSC 91A06 MSC 91A50 91A10 

JEL Classification

JEL D79 JEL C73 



This material is based upon work supported by the Complex Systems Institute of Paris le-de-France (ISC-PIF) and the Science en poche project funded by the city of Paris Emergence(s) funding scheme. The author is very grateful to Mihailo Backović for sharing his data about ambulance chasing cases.

Supplementary material

11192_2016_2109_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 2361 KB)


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Analyse et de Mathématique Sociales (CAMS)ParisFrance
  2. 2.Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris Ile-de-France (ISC-PIF)ParisFrance

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