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science barometer 2017

science barometer 2017. Photo: Katja Machill/WiD
science barometer 2017. Photo: Katja Machill/WiD

The science barometer 2017 depicts that science and research have been underrepresented in the campaign for the 2017 German federal elections. This view is held by roughly two thirds of the respondents.

The societal importance of science also becomes evident in the great interest in research stated by the respondents and their desire to participate – both in discussions about science and in research itself. Facilitating discussions and informing about science as well as allowing for participation in research remain important tasks for science communication in order to responsibly address the role of science in society.

For the fourth science barometer the questionnaire was further developed and new topics such as ‘trust in Science’ were included.

Trust in science and research

In the light of current public discussion about anti-experts and fake news the question if people trust science and research is becoming more and more relevant. Twelve per cent of respondents say that they do not trust science and research. Every second person expresses trust. The remaining 37 per cent are indecisive. Thereby, the expertise of researchers is stated as a main reason for trust in science and research. The main reason for distrust is the dependency on funders.

One in ten questions evolutionary theory

The science barometer also enquires into people’s views on man-made climate change, the evolutionary theory and vaccinations. Eight per cent of respondents say that they doubt man-made climate change and one in ten questions evolutionary theory. For both cases, three quarters of respondents are convinced that they are true. Two thirds of respondents see a benefit in vaccinations whereas 13 per cent disagree. Eleven per cent of respondents agree that science does more harm than good, whereas 64 percent disagree with the statement.

Citizens think: business has too much influence on science and research

As it has done in previous years the science barometer also inquires the role science plays within society. Nearly half of respondents are convinced that science and research work in the public interest, 16 per cent disagree. 56 per cent of respondents want to be involved in the development of research questions. 41 per cent even want to participate in research projects.

Another issue covered by the science barometer is the relationship between politics, business and science. Thereby, the respondents see a misbalance. 57 per cent think that the influence politics has on research is too strong whereas 45 per cent think that science is not influencing politics enough. 61 per cent think the influence business has on science is too strong. 

58 per cent of respondents say they are interested in science and research.


Single charts in png-format

You can use the results if you give appropriate credit to the source Wissenschaft im Dialog/Kantar Emnid. The charts are under the CC BY-ND 4.0 licence, format modifications for editorial purposes are allowed.

Source: Wissenschaft im Dialog/Kantar Emnid, CC BY-ND 4.0 

Interest and information behavior

Trust in science

Science in society

Future Research


Current topics


Representative population survey

The results of the science barometer 2017 are based on 1.007 telephone interviews (dual frame of landlines/mobile phones, 80:20) which were conducted from 25 to 29 July 2017 by Kantar Emnid as part of an omnibus survey. Since the data was subjected to post-stratification weighting the results can be generalised to the German population aged over 14 years.

While in English the term ‘science’ is mostly used to refer to natural sciences, the German term ‘Wissenschaft’ refers to natural sciences as well as humanities and social sciences. The results presented here therefore apply for all fields of academic research (this was also stated in a short clarification by the interviewer at the beginning of the interview).

The science barometer 2017  is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and methodological advice was provided by GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences.

Previous science barometer

The results of the science barometer 2016, 2015 and 2014 you also find on the project website, the brochures in German can be downloaded here

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