Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists, scientific practice, and trust in science

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many changes in the world of science, both positive and negative. The pandemic’s consequences affected scientists on a personal level, with the true impact depending on their field of study, career phase and family responsibilities. Scientific practice also changed dramatically during the pandemic.

Positive effects included faster approval of studies, less air travel to conferences, more collaboration and data sharing, and the rapid expansion of open science. Negative effects were the delays in ongoing research, the cancellation of laboratory studies and fieldwork, and the shift from ‘live’ to virtual/digital. At the same time, the role of scientists and scientific knowledge became the focus of significant interest in the public domain. Now that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be in sight, it is time to take stock. Which of these changes do we wish to retain? Which would we rather not? The Academy has established a committee that will advise on these questions.

Purpose and outcome

  • to chart the impact of the pandemic on scientists, scientific practice and trust in science.
  • to make recommendations for retaining the positive consequences of the pandemic for science in the Netherlands and for mitigating or remedying its negative consequences.

Tasks

The committee will take stock of the positive and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists, scientific practice and trust in science, as well as the longer-term consequences. The committee will clarify what is needed to allow science to continue flourishing after the pandemic, preferably from an international comparative perspective. It will, among other things, consider young scientists, for whom the impact is likely to be the greatest, for example because of the possible loss of career prospects in science in the years ahead. In addition, the committee will reflect on the role of scientists in the public domain.

Schedule and activities

The project began in April 2021 and will be completed in early 2022. During this period, the committee will consult experts and relevant organisations, among others.

Committee

An advisory committee has been set up for this project. You will find a list of the committee members here.