As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public and governments have focused increased attention on scientific research, hoping to find not only solutions, but also certainty.
Yet science advances through trial and error.
That conflict of expectations is understandable and ultimately may be unresolvable. Now, a broad coalition hopes to address the challenge with confidence-building activities, beginning with the researcher community.
At Elsevier, Anne Kitson is senior vice president and managing director of The Lancet and Cell Press. She also leads the Confidence in Research project.
“The main opportunity here is that the pandemic and our experiences of the last two years have a chance to reinvigorate discussions,” Kitson explains.
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“I believe labeling it as a crisis is overstating this, but there are some growing strong challenges that it’s incumbent on all of us to address together. We collaborate already, but we need to continue to do so.”
“In the past two years, [given] the speed of scientific endeavor and progress, policymakers, scientists, and the industry collaborated on a scale like never before. That led to very effective treatments being developed and regulated for use in a fraction of the time.
“However, we’ve also seen an exacerbation and an acceleration of trends that have been known for many years. The pandemic very much shone a spotlight on science and its practice, and public engagement is now higher than ever before.”