The Internet and how Science is done

Let the light shine in

When researchers make all their data available on the Internet, anybody can look at it and confirm the results … or not. This is a good thing. Just as well, since the Genie is out of the bottle now.

A similar thing has happened in economics. Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has made all of his data available on the Web. Piketty’s book is quite controversial, but as Simply Statitstics notes:

… if his work is “correct”, his predictions will be borne out by nature. It’s not so satisfying to have to wait many years to know if you are correct, but that’s how science works.

In the meantime, economists will have a debate over the science and the appropriate methods and data used for analysis. This is also how science works, and it is only (really) possible because Piketty made his work reproducible. Otherwise, the debate would be largely uninformed.

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