Innogen

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Quantifying Objectivity in the Natural and Social Sciences

Daniele Fanelli

Affiliated staff:   Joyce Tait

Funding: EU Marie Curie Fellowship

May 1 2008 – April 30 2010

Background

Every year, over 1.4 million scientific articles are published worldwide.

How many of them are objective and unbiased descriptions of real phenomena?

Increasing evidence suggests that research misconduct and publication bias are seriously affecting modern research. Their effects, combined with biased science popularization, are potentially distorting scientific knowledge to an unprecedented degree.

Research agendas and political agendas risk being misdirected, and human and financial resources risk being wasted on scientific questions that are based on false assumptions.

The nature and gravity of this phenomenon, as well as its consequences, are only starting to be investigated.

Aims and objectives

My goal is to measure the level of bias in scientific research.

I will employ a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques to compare different fields in the natural and social sciences, focussing on three fundamental phases in the production of scientific knowledge: data collection and analysis, publication, and popularization of results.