Do We Need the “Science in Crisis” Narrative to Promote Better Science?

Daniele Fanelli thinks(1) that efforts to improve the reproducibility and integrity of science are typically justified by a “science is in crisis” narrative, according to which most published results are unreliable due to growing problems with research and publication practices. He thinks that this is not is not actually a new narrative, it is not empirically supported, and it is, in fact, counterproductive.

Instead of inspiring younger generations to do more and better science, it might foster in them cynicism and indifference. Instead of inviting greater respect for and investment in research, it risks discrediting the value of evidence and feeding antiscientific agendas.

Number of Web of Science records that in the title, abstract, or keywords contain one of the following phrases: “reproducibility crisis,” “scientific crisis,” “science in crisis,” “crisis in science,” “replication crisis,” “replicability crisis.”

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(1) Fanelli, Daniele. 2018. ‘Opinion: Is Science Really Facing a Reproducibility Crisis, and Do We Need It To?’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March, 201708272. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708272114.

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