Science is crucial for the areas that need innovation (for example removing the high levels of CO2 from the air). We need more people doing research and experiments.
From a bottom-up perspective people can engage in citizen science.
Citizen science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists. Citizen science is sometimes described as "public participation in scientific research", participatory monitoring, and participatory action research whose outcomes are often advancements in scientific research by improving the scientific community's capacity, as well as increasing the public's understanding of science (Wikipedia).
Citizen science projects cover a wide variety of topics, from astronomy to zoology.
Citizen science is even more needed because corporate funding of research has negatively impacted the objectivity of the research itself. Paul Chek says: scientists are the new prostitutes. 75% is paid by corporations. Therefor scientists are no longer perceived as the objective experts who have all the answers.
Unfortunately, fraud is also part of science.
We have worked on enough fraud cases in the last decade to know that scientific fraud is more common than is convenient to believe, and that it does not happen only on the periphery of science. Addressing the problem of scientific fraud should not be left to a few anonymous (and fed up and frightened) whistleblowers and some (fed up and frightened) bloggers to root out. The consequences of fraud are experienced collectively, so eliminating it should be a collective endeavor. What can everyone do?
There will never be a perfect solution, but there is an obvious step to take: Data should be posted. The fabrication in this paper was discovered because the data were posted. If more data were posted, fraud would be easier to catch. And if fraud is easier to catch, some potential fraudsters may be more reluctant to do it. Other disciplines are already doing this. For example, many top economics journals require authors to post their raw data. There is really no excuse. All of our journals should require data posting.
Until that day comes, all of us have a role to play. As authors (and co-authors), we should always make all of our data publicly available. And as editors and reviewers, we can ask for data during the review process, or turn down requests to review papers that do not make their data available. A field that ignores the problem of fraud, or pretends that it does not exist, risks losing its credibility. And deservedly so.
That is why critical thinking and being comfortable with not knowing are crucial skills to learn – for everyone. Re-education will do that.
I’m deeply convinced that everything that I’ve been taught is probably largely wrong. Everything that I believed is probably largely wrong. One of the big, big things that I have to work on as a person is to be good with that, to be good with not knowing and to face the fundamental and profound ignorance that’s part of the human condition. We don’t like that. We want to think that we have the answers and we know all the way down. What science teaches us is that even our best scientific theories are almost surely deeply flawed.
Also, in science there is an open source approach. Have a look at
And especially related to behavior change we need approaches that cater for our irrationality, our emotions and the psycho-logic. The Society for Affective Science is addressing this need.
Within science there are already bottom up initiatives. Rather than waiting for institutions to lead the way, this article provides ‘rules for radicals’ and makes a call for bottom-up, grassroots organizing around social justice and developing the knowledge and tools to fight it, including the exciting new initiatives of the ‘social tool kit’ and the ‘social incubator’.
Science is urgently needed and you can contribute.