“Science Bubbles,” a recent paper in Springer’s Philosophy and Technology suggests something like that:
Much like the trade and traits of bubbles in financial markets, similar bubbles appear on the science market. When economic bubbles burst, the drop in prices causes the crash of unsustainable investments leading to an investor confidence crisis possibly followed by a financial panic. But when bubbles appear in science, truth and reliability are the first victims. This paper explores how fashions in research funding and research management may turn science into something like a bubble economy.
Alarmism? Maybe, but the fall of psychiatry’s DSM-V, the fact that 47 of 53 landmark medical papers could not be replicated, and the widespread recognition that peer review is bust should not be ignored.
By themselves, one scandal a decade, these sinkholes might be nothing. Coming thick and fast, as in recent years, they don’t so much point to the question, does the system need reform, but… is it reformable? That’s usually when big changes start to happen.