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China's 'Obsession'

In Nature, Chinese chemist Nai-Xing Wang says the biggest problem with the way China does science is the "obsession with journal impact factors," and that funding tends to be given to researchers that publish in high-impact-factor journals, rather than to those that do good science. "Articles in journals with high impact factors are judged to appeal most to readers, but not every paper published in a high-impact-factor journal is high quality, and papers published in lower-ranked journals are never worthless," Wang says. "Yet some administrators in China take a very crude approach: high-impact-factor publications mean excellent work." Research proposals are judged by a researcher's prior publications, and salaries can often change depending on which journals the scientists publish in. If high impact factor is the only way to judge the quality of research, he adds, then science is no longer science, but "a field of fame and game."

(HT: Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline)

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.