Insufficient transparency in ecology, evolution, and beyond: problems and solutions
Effective scientific progress requires that researchers report what they find and how they found it. This is not a controversial idea, but when it comes to actual practice, in many disciplines we fall far short of the level of transparency needed to avoid major bias. In this talk I will review evidence from ecology and evolutionary biology that insufficient transparency is widespread and that this insufficient transparency is driving substantial bias in much of the published literature. I will also discuss some of the characteristics that expose disciplines to higher rates of bias. This elevated rate of bias means that many published conclusions are unreliable and rather than contributing to scientific progress, are hindering progress by leading other researchers (and their research funding) down blind alleys. Fortunately there is growing recognition of these problems, as well as a host of ideas for reducing bias. Individual researchers can take important steps to reduce bias in their own work, but journals, funding bodies, and universities are particularly well-positioned to promote transparency and reduce bias.
Tim Parker, Whitman College