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.