Giving Compass' Take:

• Christie Aschwanden, writing for FiveThirtyEight, discusses the movement for more transparency in science and how to address threats against the credibility of scientific discovery.

• How can donors help keep scientific research transparent and credible? 

• Check out the Giving Compass Science Philanthropy Alliance Magazine. 


Science is being turned against itself. For decades, its twin ideals of transparency and rigor have been weaponized by those who disagree with results produced by the scientific method. Under the Trump administration, that fight has ramped up again.

That’s a fundamental difference — we’re critiquing science to make it better. Others are critiquing it to devalue the approach itself.

The same entreaties crop up again and again: We need to root out conflicts. We need more precise evidence. What makes these arguments so powerful is that they sound quite similar to the points raised by proponents of a very different call for change that’s coming from within science. This other movement strives to produce more robust, reproducible findings. Despite having dissimilar goals, the two forces espouse principles that look surprisingly alike:

  1. Science needs to be transparent.
  2. Results and methods should be openly shared so that outside researchers can independently reproduce and validate them.
  3. The methods used to collect and analyze data should be rigorous and clear, and conclusions must be supported by evidence.

What distinguishes the two calls for transparency is intent: Whereas the “open science” movement aims to make science more reliable, reproducible and robust, proponents of “sound science” have historically worked to amplify uncertainty, create doubt and undermine scientific discoveries that threaten their interests.

Read the source article on good science by Christie Aschwanden at FiveThirtyEight.