The dilemmas of trustworthiness in science

Piotr Sztompka


Trust and trustworthiness are crucial for science: equally for the scientific knowledge, scientific institutions and scientific community. For scientific knowledge the main criterion of trustworthiness is the search for truth, for scientific institutions it is the regime of autonomy, and for scientific community – respecting the ethos of science: norms of universalism, communalism, disinterestedness and organized scepticism (peer review and meritocracy). In the traditional academic science due to these criteria the level of deviance (fraud, plagiarism etc.) was very low. Alas in current post-academic science we witness numerous occurrence of fake knowledge, loss of autonomy of academic institutions and the neglect of the ethos of science among scholars. There are several processes responsible for this condition: fiscalisation, privatization, marketization, bureaucratization, and the pressure of non-academic, external forces and interests on scientific community. The regaining of autonomy and reactivation of academic culture (primarily the ethos of science), are the preconditions for overcoming the current crisis of trustworthiness in science.


trust; trustworthiness; credibility; academic culture; scientific ethos; post-academic science

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