Can I trust science?

From anti-vaxxers to climate deniers, not everyone trusts science. This podcast features a panel of international experts looking at why there is mistrust and positive antidotes to deal with it.

We explore the Open Science movement, which is sweeping the globe promoting practices to make science more transparent and less biased.

One method is sharing data – that increases trust through openness and accelerates the quality of research. There are hurdles to sharing data: who owns it, how it’s arranged, and the motivation of scientists when their careers are driven by publishing results.

But are there limitations, a tyranny of openness?

Sharing data without acknowledgement or payment may lead to exploitation of those who produced it.

We examine the ethics of data and share positive solutions to make science more responsible, so we can all trust it.


Timandra Harkness

Timandra Harkness is a writer, comedian and broadcaster who performs on scientific, mathematical and statistical topics. She has written for newspapers and magazines including the Daily TelegraphSunday TimesWIREDBBC Focus, Men’s Health and Significance. Her work on BBC Radio 4 includes documentaries The Singularity and  Data, Data Everywhere. She is the author of the book Big Data: Does Size Matter?

Sabina Leonelli

Professor of Philosophy and History of Science
Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI)
University of Exeter

Sabina Leonelli is a professor in philosophy and history of science at the University of Exeter, where she co-directs the Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis). She gained her PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, following an MSc in history and philosophy of science at the London School of Economics and a BSc (hons) in history, philosophy and social studies of science at University College London.

Her research focuses on the methods and assumptions involved in the use of big data for discovery; the challenges involved in the extraction of knowledge from digital infrastructures, and the implications of choices in data curation for the outputs and uses of science and technology; the role of the open science movement within current landscapes of knowledge production, including concerns around inequality; and the status and history of experimental organisms as scientific models and data sources. She published widely in a variety of disciplines including philosophy, history, social studies of science, data science and biology; and is active in science policy, particularly as adviser on Open Science implementation for the European Commission and the steering boards of various research data infrastructures.

Travis Coan

Associate Professor in Computational Social Science
University of Exeter

Dr. Travis G. Coan is an Associate Professor in Computational Social Science at the University of Exeter. He is co-director of the Exeter Q-Step Centre and is a member of the Centre for Elections, Media, and Participation (CEMaP). While Dr. Coan has published on a wide-range of topics, his core research examines questions in the areas of environmental and political communication. Travis’ methodological interests include Bayesian statistics, natural language processing, and computer vision. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Climatic Change, Global Environmental Change, Electoral Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and Social Networks, among others.

Carole Goble CBE FREng FBCS

Professor of Computer Science
University of Manchester

Carole Goble’s research is on knowledge and information management, distributed information systems and interoperability of applications and new ways of doing in silico science, scientific publication and curation.

She is a leader of the UK’s e-Science programme, working for over a decade on information solutions for scientists, in particular Clinicians and Life Scientists. She co-directs Manchester’s e-Science Centre and is a principle investigator of the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute-UK.

James Coomarasamy


A British presenter of the BBC Radio 4 evening programme The World Tonight, and the flagship Newshour programme on the World Service.

Before joining Newshour in 2010, Coomarasamy spent a year presenting the Europe Today. Before becoming a presenter he had been a BBC correspondent in Warsaw, followed by Paris, then Washington, D.C.