Rehabilitating the scientific ecosystem


The scientific method has proven its worth on innumerable occasions. However, serious questions have been raised about the credibility of many published findings and a great deal of research effort may be wasted. Scientists are only human and operate within an ecosystem that can exacerbate, rather than protect against, the infusion of bias and error into the research process. Widespread lack of transparency and non-sharing of fundamental research artifacts, such as raw data, analysis scripts, and study protocols, impedes self-correction activities that might otherwise maintain the veracity of the literature. But the scientific ecosystem is shifting and evolving. New initiatives promoting open data, pre-registration, collaboration, replication, and reproducibility are starting to bear fruit. Innovation and cross-fertilization of ideas between disciplines can accelerate progress, but careful evaluation and monitoring through meta-research will be necessary to appropriately calibrate solutions and avoid adverse effects. A healthier scientific ecosystem is on the horizon.

Bank of England
London, United Kingdom