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science barometer 2018

Science barometer 2018. Photo: WiD
Science barometer 2018. Photo: WiD

Despite the often mentioned hostility towards elites: The public trust in science and research remains stable. With the fifth edition of the science barometer, Wissenschaft im Dialog surveys public attitudes towards science and research in Germany in 2018.

Trust in science and research remains stable

54 per cent of respondents indicate that they trust science and research, 39 per cent are undecided, while 7 per cent state that they distrust science and research somewhat or completely. According to respondents, the most significant reason for distrust in scientists is the dependence on funders. Furthermore, two thirds of respondents consider the influence of business on science to be somewhat or much too strong.

Nuanced view on science

The results of some new questions show that citizens have a nuanced view of science: Many respondents think it makes it difficult to judge which information is correct when scientists disagree. However, 64 per cent consider controversies between scientists as helping to ensure the right results prevail.

TV remains the most important source for information

In 2018 TV continues to be the most important source of information regarding science and research: 37 per cent of respondents watch TV programmes about science and research often or very often. The second most important source is the internet. Websites of news media are the source most often used to get information about science and research on the internet. Particularly among students and 14- to 29-year-olds video platforms and social networks play an important role.

Please find a selection of questions and answers displayed in the gallery and all results of the science barometer 2018 in the download section below.


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 behaviour

Trust in science

Science in society

Current topics

Previous science barometer

The results of the science barometer 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 you also find on the project website, the brochures in German can be downloaded here

Representative population survey

The results of the science barometer 2018 are based on 1.008 telephone interviews (dual frame of landlines/mobile phones, 80:20) which were conducted from 6 to 13 August 2018 by Kantar Emnid as part of an omnibus survey – on behalf of Wissenschaft im Dialog. 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 2018 is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and methodological advice was provided by GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences.


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