Do You Trust What You Read? Results of a Survey of 3000 Academics

[Excerpts taken from the article “Do researchers trust each other’s work?” by David Matthews, published at Times Higher Education]
“…do researchers actually trust each other? The answer, according to data from a survey of more than 3,000 scholars across the world, is “sometimes”: a sizeable minority placed limited weight on their colleagues’ work.”
“A full 37 per cent of respondents said that during the past week, “about half” or less than half of the “research outputs” they “interacted with” or “encountered” were actually “trustworthy”. Only 14 per cent said that they trusted all the work that they had come across.”
“With scholars “overwhelmed” by the volume of research that they need to keep abreast of, it is “not a great surprise that researchers are doubting some of the material that’s out there”, said Adrian Mulligan, director of customer insights at the publisher Elsevier, which carried out the survey. “
“The results come with some caveats: “research outputs” can refer not just to articles in journals, but also to things like academic blogs, datasets, non-peer reviewed papers in preprint repositories, or, in some cases, news articles about findings, Mr Mulligan stressed.”
“Academics inclined to distrust may have been more likely to have taken the survey. And Elsevier has an interest in presenting academics as being flooded by potentially dubious work, as the publisher markets itself as being able to help scholars navigate this stream of information.”
“But the findings may still help illuminate an arguably poorly evidenced part of the scientific process. While statistics on public trust in science are plentiful, Mr Mulligan said that he was not aware of any other research on whether scholars trust each other.”
To read the article, click here. (NOTE: Article is behind a paywall.)

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