Scientific study of science / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Metascience (also known as meta-research) is the use of scientific methodology to study science itself. Metascience seeks to increase the quality of scientific research while reducing inefficiency. It is also known as "research on research" and "the science of science", as it uses research methods to study how research is done and find where improvements can be made. Metascience concerns itself with all fields of research and has been described as "a bird's eye view of science".[1] In the words of John Ioannidis, "Science is the best thing that has happened to human beings ... but we can do it better."[2]

In 1966, an early meta-research paper examined the statistical methods of 295 papers published in ten high-profile medical journals. It found that "in almost 73% of the reports read ... conclusions were drawn when the justification for these conclusions was invalid." Meta-research in the following decades found many methodological flaws, inefficiencies, and poor practices in research across numerous scientific fields. Many scientific studies could not be reproduced, particularly in medicine and the soft sciences. The term "replication crisis" was coined in the early 2010s as part of a growing awareness of the problem.[3]

Measures have been implemented to address the issues revealed by metascience. These measures include the pre-registration of scientific studies and clinical trials as well as the founding of organizations such as CONSORT and the EQUATOR Network that issue guidelines for methodology and reporting. There are continuing efforts to reduce the misuse of statistics, to eliminate perverse incentives from academia, to improve the peer review process, to systematically collect data about the scholarly publication system,[4] to combat bias in scientific literature, and to increase the overall quality and efficiency of the scientific process.