What is (so special about) science?
Reproducible research is all about science, so what is science all about? There is a whole discipline, Philosophy of Science, concerned with answering this question, and most probably, there is neither consensus nor a simple let alone universal answer. A very personal account by one of the greatest scientists may nevertheless help achieve a useful working definition.
If I have seen further, it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants.Sir Isaak Newton1)
Properly defining the term “science” is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, some aspects are most probably common sense — and can be deduced from Newton’s statement quoted above:
- Science is based on results previously achieved by others.
- Results should be independent of the scientist.
- Science aims at gaining knowledge about the world surrounding us.
- Results should be independently reproducible.
This immediately reveals scientific research to be a responsible undertaking.
Note: This section is clearly opinionated. There are many more resources available. However, these are the author’s recommendations based on own experience.
Chalmers, Alan F.: What is this thing called Science?
Open University Press, Berkshire, UK, 1999