I was invited recently to present parliamentary evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on the subject of Research Integrity. For those not familiar with the arcane workings of the British Parliamentary system, a Select Committee is essentially the place where governments, and government bodies, are held to account. So it was refreshing to be invited to a hearing that wasn’t about Brexit.
The interest of the British Parliament in the integrity of scientific research confirms just how far science’s ongoing “reproducibility crisis” has reached. The fact that a large proportion of the published literature cannot be reproduced is clearly problematic, and this call to action from MPs is very welcome. And why would the government not be interested? At stake is the process of how new knowledge is created, and how reliable that purported knowledge is.