We propose that there is an efficiency crisis not a science crisis. Scientific progress is still being made, but not at the rate at which it could be -- because efficiency is being hampered by an incentive system that does not reward openness and reproducibility, two core values of scholarship. These values underpin the reality that scientific claims do not become credible based on the authority or persuasiveness of their originator. Rather, claims become credible via transparent communication of the supporting evidence and the process of acquiring that evidence.
In the present scholarly culture, openness and reproducibility are values but not standard practice. Incentives driving researchers and service providers do not promote these values. For researchers, the currency of reward is publication. Publishing frequently in the most prestigious outlets possible is the gateway to jobs, promotion, tenure, grants, and awards. Whether the research is open or reproducible is rarely relevant to publication success. Instead, publication depends on achieving novel, positive, clean outcomes. In a competitive marketplace, researchers may make choices--even unwittingly--that increase the likelihood of obtaining publishable outcomes even at the cost of their accuracy. Without transparency or efforts to evaluate reproducibility, the loss of accuracy may go undetected decreasing the credibility of the published literature.
The need to reform the research scientists’ reward system must be better communicated to the public. Funding sources and policy makers are increasingly accountable to voices of non-scientists and those who, in general, may already be biased against the complexity of accurate data reporting.