Research into people’s attitudes points to a pleasing shift: science and scientists in several countries are viewed more positively now than before the pandemic. This uptick in trust and interest should galvanize efforts to make research as open as possible and to ensure that scientists engage with emerging societal needs globally.
Three studies done after COVID-19 struck, but before vaccines were approved, showed similar trends. In the United Kingdom, people are more keen to hear directly from scientists about their research (this metric jumped by 19 percentage points from 2015 in the United Kingdom to April 2020 in Great Britain), according to the research funder Wellcome (see go.nature.com/2zcszre). Meanwhile, the number of people in the United States and Canada who agree with the view “I am sceptical of science” dropped by 8% from mid-2019 to late 2020, according to the State of Science study commissioned by US corporation 3M (see go.nature.com/3qg8vhm). Similarly, the 2020 German science barometer survey showed levels of trust in science and research between 73% in April and 60% in November, compared with 46% in 2019 (see go.nature.com/3rg54cc).
In our age of misinformation, this is rare good news for those of us who are in the evidence business.