Trends in US public confidence in science and opportunities for progress

Arthur Lupia, David B. Allison, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Jennifer Heimberg, Magdalena Skipper, Susan M. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, many questions have been raised about whether public confidence in science is changing. To clarify recent trends in the public’s confidence and factors that are associated with these feelings, an effort initiated by the National Academies’ Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust (the Strategic Council) analyzed findings from multiple survey research organizations. The Strategic Council’s effort, which began in 2022, found that U.S. public confidence in science, the scientific community, and leaders of scientific communities is high relative to other civic, cultural, and governmental institutions for which researchers regularly collect such data. However, confidence in these institutions has fallen during the previous 5 years. Science’s decline, while real, is similar to or less than that in the other groups. A recent study goes into greater detail by exploring public views of science. From these data, we observe that many of the surveyed U.S. public question the extent to which scientists share their values or overcome personal biases when presenting conclusions. At the same time, large majorities agree on certain types of actions that they want scientists to take. For example, 84% respond that it is “somewhat important” or “very important” for scientists to disclose their funders. Ninety-two percent (92%) offer the same responses to scientists “being open to changing their minds based on new evidence.” Collectively, these data clarify how the U.S. public views science and scientists. They also suggest actions that can affect public confidence in science and scientists in the years to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2319488121
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 12 2024

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© 2024 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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  • Editorial


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