Episode 40: A Venture Capitalist for Better Science

Stuart Buck has referred to himself as a venture capitalist for making science more efficient, reliable, and accountable. As vice president at the policy-focused philanthropy Arnold Ventures, he directed funds toward fledgling enterprises that are now major forces shaping scientific norms and infrastructure, including the Center for Open Science and Retraction Watch. He’s now executive director of the Good Science Project, a nonprofit organization working to figure out effective ways to improve science.

Buck considers how to make sure that reforms are actually improvements, not performative busywork. He explores what sorts of entities are required to push for positive change in science and still respect the different cultures and practices in various countries and disciplines. It’s not enough to assess scientific practices, he argues; there needs to be a built-in way to assess scientific reforms, including the relative costs and benefits of increasingly popular policies like sharing data and promoting transparency.

In this context, Buck joins host Monya Baker to discuss how metascience—the study of science—has fueled reform, and how to make sure reforms produce the desired effects.

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