Only Human: Scientists, Systems, and Suspect Statistics

Tom E Hardwicke, Leila Jameel, Matthew Jones, Eryk J Walczak, Lucía M Weinberg


It is becoming increasingly clear that science has sailed into troubled waters. Recent revelations about cases of serious research fraud and widespread ‘questionable research practices’ have initiated a period of critical self-reflection in the scientific community and there is growing concern that several common research practices fall far short of the principles of robust scientific inquiry. At a recent symposium, ‘Improving Scientific Practice: Dealing with the Human Factors’ held at The University of Amsterdam, the notion of the objective, infallible, and dispassionate scientist was firmly challenged. The symposium was guided by the acknowledgement that scientists are only human, and thus subject to the desires, needs, biases, and limitations inherent to the human condition. In this article, five post-graduate students from University College London describe the issues addressed at the symposium and evaluate proposed solutions to the scientific integrity crisis.

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