The general level of public trust in scientific research is declining as a result of unsubstantiated attacks on real science, faked data, and a lack of communication. How can we improve public trust in science?
In their Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Katharina Boele-Woelki, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany, Joseph S. Francisco, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, Ulrike Hahn, University of London, UK, and Joachim Herz, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA, explain some critical points that can be addressed. First of all, the work of scientists should be communicated in a fashion that is appealing and transparent. Ways of bolstering public trust in research include bringing more citizens into research—for example with data collection—so that it becomes a team effort, and sharing findings in an accessible way with open dialogue.
Funding agencies can also play a part, for example by including budget categories for the dissemination of research results to the public in an accessible manner that do not exaggerate the impact of the results. Rebuilding public trust in science requires an openness on the part of scientists to sharing results in an accessible fashion, and also a willingness by the public to listen and take on board what science has to offer.
- How We Can Rebuild Trust in Science—And Why We Must,
Katharina Boele-Woelki, Joseph S. Francisco, Ulrike Hahn, Joachim Herz,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018.