Trusting the Scientific Community: The Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Trust in Science

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Trust in the scientific enterprise — in science as an institution — is arguably important to individuals’ and societies’ well-being. Although some measures of public trust in science exist, the recipients of that trust are often ambiguous between trusting individual scientists and the scientific community at large. We argue that more precision would be beneficial — specifically, targeting public trust of the scientific community at large — and describe the development and validation of such an instrument: the Scientific Community Trust Index (SCTI). We show the results of initial field testing to establish instrument reliability and validity. We then demonstrate certain advantages of the SCTI against other measures of trust and deference, and present correlations between the SCTI and participant scores in two trust-in-science scenarios. Our results suggest that the SCTI is a useful and compact tool for measuring public trust in the scientific community.
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Archival date: 2019-04-18
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