Here's an interesting article about the biggest problems in (American) science: The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists. Most of them apply to science in other countries.I've added brief comments under six of the headings. Those are MY opinions, not necessarily those of the authors. The comment under #6 is a direct quote from the article.
- Academia has a huge money problem.
There's not enough money to do high quality science, especially basic science.
- Too many studies are poorly designed. Blame bad incentives.
Some experiments are poorly designed. All scientists are under pressure to make their results seem important.
- Replicating results is crucial. But scientists rarely do it.
Replication is important—especially in medical studies—but I think this problem is exaggerated.
- Peer review is broken.
The system (peer review) isn't working well. That doesn't mean there's a better system.
- Too much science is locked behind paywalls.
This was never a problem in the past when you had to go to the library to read science journals. You could photocopy whatever you wanted. Now it's a problem because we want instant access from our laptops.
- Science is poorly communicated to the public.
"But not everyone blamed the media and publicists alone. Other respondents pointed out that scientists themselves often oversell their work, even if it's preliminary, because funding is competitive and everyone wants to portray their work as big and important and game-changing.
'You have this toxic dynamic where journalists and scientists enable each other in a way that massively inflates the certainty and generality of how scientific findings are communicated and the promises that are made to the public,' writes Daniel Molden, an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University. 'When these findings prove to be less certain and the promises are not realized, this just further erodes the respect that scientists get and further fuels scientists desire for appreciation.'"
- Life as a young academic is incredibly stressful.
This is not just a problem for my younger colleagues. It affects all of us. It affects morale in an academic department and it affects the way science is done.