One of the founding principles of science is captured in the motto of the Royal Society: “Nullius in Verba”, roughly translated as “take no one’s word for it,” or “see for yourself.” Yet, this bedrock principle of science–transparency and replication that allow us to see the evidence with our own eyes–enjoys limited support in modern social science. A central problem is that transparency advances the goals of science, but not the immediate interests of individual scientists. The crisis in science is ultimately a collective action problem, where professional responsibilities conflict with narrower “business” interests. I discuss important steps science can take to ensure that the “pressure to publish” remains tightly coupled with the goal of producing research of genuine and lasting value.
Cristobal Young is Associate Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. Educated at the University of Victoria, Canada and at Princeton University, his work now focuses on the overlapping fields of economic sociology, stratification, and quantitative methodology. He studies the social policies that moderate income inequality, ranging from millionaire taxes to unemployment insurance. His methodological work focuses on big administrative data, model uncertainty, and robust results. In addition to numerous Op-Eds in leading newspapers and many articles in learned journals, he is the author of The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters for the Rich (2017).