(Dis)trusting Academic Science: From Evidence-Based Medicine to the “Reproducibility Crisis”
Those involved in biomedicine’s “reproducibility crisis” have argued that the present-day conversations about preclinical research are part of a longer history of reform that can be traced back to the evidence-based medicine movement. While there are continuities in the key figures and methodologies involved in both reform efforts, the distrust driving those efforts has undergone an important shift. Distrust of pharmaceutical companies and their techniques for manipulating or suppressing unfavorable results motivated reforms in the early 2000s, but a series of papers in 2011 and 2012 flipped this narrative, suggesting that pharmaceutical companies produced more reliable data than academic laboratories. This talk will explain how pharmaceutical companies who were rocked by public scandals throughout the early 2000s were nevertheless able to position themselves as authorities on the trustworthiness of academic science.
Nicole C. Nelson
Nicole C. Nelson is an Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin—Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Her first book, Model Behavior (2018), is an ethnographic study of how animal behavior geneticists conceptualize and enact complexity in research with mouse models. She is an incoming Editor-in-Chief at the journal Social Studies of Science, the founding director of the Health and the Humanities program at UW Madison, and a former scholar in residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her current research focuses on the “reproducibility crisis” in biomedicine and its relationship to histories of biomedical and open science research reform.
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
This event is part of the MPIWG's Institute's Colloquium 2021–22 series "Trusting Science," which seeks to explore this topic from interdisciplinary, transnational, and longue durée perspectives. Learn more about the series here.