Science is becoming more self-criticalby Rolf-Dieter Heuer / November 14, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
One week in October a rather alarming issue of the Economist was brought to my door, bearing the headline: “How science goes wrong.” The accompanying leader article made a rather compelling case for reform in the way that science is done. What the article failed to point out, however, is that reform is already well underway.
The Economist’s basic arguments are that science has become complacent, and is no longer self-correcting. People are publishing in a hurry, and the peer review process is no longer fit for purpose. The reality is not so simple. What’s happening is that the nature, scale and pace of science is changing more rapidly than ever before. We shouldn’t be surprised that the time-honoured procedures that have served science well for centuries have to evolve, and they are. Experimental particle physics provides a good case study.