Science follows a conservative process. It takes a long time for a fact or a law to be accepted. Several scientists must verify and reproduce the same results before acceptance is granted.
So goes the theory.
In practice, science is not such a clean process. Routinely, facts and theories become widely accepted quickly, without criticism. Mostly because they are convenient. Other proposals get shot down immediately: perhaps for good reasons, perhaps not. Negative results, including any challenge to the convenient—but poorly reviewed—facts, are frowned upon.
In some fields, there is a bias against simplicity. If you show that a simple technique works well, even if it works better than more complicated or expensive techniques, people will dismiss your work as too easy. I believe we should have the opposite bias: we should try to steer away from complicated solutions. Complicated techniques should have the burden of the proof: do we need something so difficult? But complexity is often convenient: it raises the barrier of entry to a field. If anyone can do your work using simple techniques, then why are you getting paid?
I believe that to minimize the effects of such biases, we should encourage diversity in science. Here are a few clues on how to get more diversity:
- pick numerous and different reviewers: the composition of program committees should be different year after year;
- encourage the multiplication of conferences, journals and workshops;
- provide funding to more researchers (spread the money more evenly);
- mix researchers from different organizations (universities, government, industry);
- do not reward researchers who always publish in the same small set of conferences or journals (the same where they often act as reviewers);
- mix researchers having different backgrounds.
Finally, I believe that we need to stress reproducibility a lot more. Researchers need to open up their data and their code. This will ensure that more people can check the facts. It should lead to better science and more diversity.