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Scientific Glory

Swiss academic Bruno Lemaitre says science is becoming more narcissistic, the Guardian reports.

Lemaitre laments the increasing importance of publishing in top journals, having a high media profile, and professional rivalries. "Many great scientists are narcissists. It's a bit sad, but it's a fact," he says.

He says that this is having a detrimental effect on science, which he says is illustrated by reproducibility crisis. There's a push to publish "sexy" papers that stems from a need for attention as well as curiosity and these papers don't always stand up to a second look. At the same time, he says funders are relying too much on rankings, metrics, and impact scores, which reward flashier science.

Lemaitre adds, though, that narcissism isn't limited to the sciences and is likely more widespread in other professions, but he says its effect on the sciences is more worrisome. "The influence of narcissism on so many aspects of science calls into question [its] very objectivity," he says.

The Guardian adds that a few studies have shown an uptick in narcissism in general. But personality researchers say that narcissists, while perhaps not pleasant to work with, are good at selling ideas and can be inspirational.

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