Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beer consumption vs. scientific performance

Yes, it is true, someone made it, and the results are according to my predictions surprising. Tomás Grim from the Department of Zoology of Palacký University in Olomouc (Czech Republic) correlated the consumption of alcohol, particularly beer, with the publication output, using the "ecologists of Czech Republic" as the study group. And he was able to publish it in a renowned journal of ecology (Oikos).

So, the results showed that an increasing beer consumption per capita is associated with lower numbers of papers, total citations, and citations per paper. Not to talk, with an increase of "belly" diameter (data not shown in the paper).

Below follows the abstract and the link for the full text (if available from Blackwell Publishing):

Publication output is the standard by which scientific productivity is evaluated. Despite a plethora of papers on the issue of publication and citation biases, no study has so far considered a possible effect of social activities on publication output. One of the most frequent social activities in the world is drinking alcohol. In Europe, most alcohol is consumed as beer and, based on well known negative effects of alcohol consumption on cognitive performance, I predicted negative correlations between beer consumption and several measures of scientific performance. Using a survey from the Czech Republic, that has the highest per capita beer consumption rate in the world, I show that increasing per capita beer consumption is associated with lower numbers of papers, total citations, and citations per paper (a surrogate measure of paper quality). In addition I found the same predicted trends in comparison of two separate geographic areas within the Czech Republic that are also known to differ in beer consumption rates. These correlations are consistent with the possibility that leisure time social activities might influence the quality and quantity of scientific work and may be potential sources of publication and citation biases.


Enjoy your reading!

1 comment:

maciej simm said...

one cannot help but question the sobriety of a researcher who collects his data at pubs. LOL!