How should we promote transient diversity in science?

Synthese 201 (2):1-24 (2023)
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Diversity of practice is widely recognized as crucial to scientific progress. If all scientists perform the same tests in their research, they might miss important insights that other tests would yield. If all scientists adhere to the same theories, they might fail to explore other options which, in turn, might be superior. But the mechanisms that lead to this sort of diversity can also generate epistemic harms when scientific communities fail to reach swift consensus on successful theories. In this paper, we draw on extant literature using network models to investigate diversity in science. We evaluate different mechanisms from the modeling literature that can promote transient diversity of practice, keeping in mind ethical and practical constraints posed by real epistemic communities. We ask: what are the best ways to promote an appropriate amount of diversity of practice in scientific communities?

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Jingyi Wu
London School of Economics