University of California, Davis, USA
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Abstract:Towards a More Self-Correcting Science
Science enjoys a great deal of public trust in part be- cause we have a reputation for prioritizing self-correc- tion. We teach our students that science is self-cor- recting, and we often repeat this when defending ourselves against critics. But what is the evidence that we really do prioritize self-correction? The prevalence of false positive findings in our top journals suggests we need better self-correction mechanisms. What would the scientific community look like if we truly put self-correction first? First, to make errors easier to detect and correct, we would do science transpa- rently. This is arguable one of the hallmarks of sci- ence – we should be committed to giving our critics all the ammunition they need to find our errors. Second, we would cultivate an environment where correction is valued. This would mean rewarding skepticism and criticism, rather than celebrating status and eminence.