Is science in big trouble?

Last modified: May 22, 2017

by Lex Bouter

For an increasing number of insiders and outsiders of science the answer to this questions is affirmative. A sobering summary of the sad state of affairs was given in Vox a few months ago [1]. The conclusion was that science is not doomed, which suggests that there is hope to solve the issues. As an inherent optimistic person I fully agree and I welcome the many current initiatives to foster responsible conduct of research. The growing consensus is that we first and foremost need to fight the monster of sloppy science and the underlying perverse incentives and flaws in research culture [2].

Many actions can be taken by scientists, their institutions and their professional organisations. They concern education focussing on the dilemmas scientists face, introducing effective regulations, and making the necessary changes in the system of science [3]. But there is also a lot that funding agencies and scientific journals can do [4]. I fact many stakeholders are already busy to remedy the troubles science is facing.

In May 2017 during the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity we will take stock of these promising developments and draft the Amsterdam Agenda for to improve the transparency and accountability of science further. Please consider to participate and to contribute actively. We need to get our act together. See the details on keynote speakers, plenary sessions and symposia on the conference website. And follow and retweet the latest news on Twitter (@WCRI2017).

Lex Bouter is professor in Methodology & Integrity, and chair of NRIN.

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