Calibrating the Scientific Ecosystem Through Meta-Research


While some scientists study insects, molecules, brains, or clouds, other scientists study science itself. Meta-research, or research-on-research, is a burgeoning discipline that investigates efficiency, quality, and bias in the scientific ecosystem, topics that have become especially relevant amid widespread concerns about the credibility of the scientific literature. Meta-research may help calibrate the scientific ecosystem toward higher standards by providing empirical evidence that informs the iterative generation and refinement of reform initiatives. We introduce a translational framework that involves (a) identifying problems, (b) investigating problems, (c) developing solutions, and (d) evaluating solutions. In each of these areas, we review key meta-research endeavors and discuss several examples of prior and ongoing work. The scientific ecosystem is perpetually evolving; the discipline of meta-research presents an opportunity to use empirical evidence to guide its development and maximize its potential.

Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application