How and why we started the Better Science Project.
Scientific research is crucial for social and economic progress. However, the current scientific ecosystem is hindered by suboptimal institutions: bureaucratic funding models, pyramidal organisational structures, and slow knowledge-sharing practices. Working in science today can often feel like an endless, frustrating competition, and as a result, people are leaving in droves.
As researchers, we’ve experienced these shortcomings firsthand. But we also believe in the immense potential of science to unlock innovations that can benefit humanity. We believe that the current issues with the scientific system are solvable, and that doing so will pay big dividends. That's why we founded the Better Science Project: a think-tank and project incubator that aims to transform the scientific research landscape in the UK and beyond.
Our mission is to find new ways to improve scientific practice through metascience research and experimental projects. We’re focusing on four critical areas: funding, structures, people, and publishing. We believe that research in these areas can help scientific systems become as innovative as the discoveries they produce. To ensure our ideas have a real-world impact, we will engage with policymakers to translate our proposed solutions into practice.
The best way to test ideas is to do experiments in the real world. In pursuit of this goal, we'll also be helping to launch practical metascience projects alongside our research, creating a living laboratory where we can refine our ideas by learning from our successes and failures. These experiments might include new funding mechanisms, publishing formats, databases, groups, or proof-of-concept studies, among others.
Finding the best ways to conduct scientific research is essential to unlocking its full potential. We believe that a diversified science ecosystem will lead to more meaningful research, a more vibrant scientific community, and ultimately, a better toolbox for tackling the challenges of the 21st century.