Data from: Theoretical and empirical perspectives in ecology and evolution: a survey
Haller, Benjamin C. (2015), Data from: Theoretical and empirical perspectives in ecology and evolution: a survey, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jh421
Scientific research is often conceptually divided into empirical and theoretical approaches, and researchers often specialize as empiricists or theorists. Both approaches are essential to scientific progress, but interactions between the two groups have at times seemed problematic. I present results from a recent survey of 614 scientists (predominantly ecologists and evolutionary biologists) regarding interactions between theoretical and empirical work. Some overall themes emerged from these results. One theme is a widespread and mutual lack of trust, understanding, and interaction between empiricists and theorists. Another is a general desire, among almost all of the respondents, for greater understanding, more collaboration, and closer interactions between empirical and theoretical work. The final theme is that institutions, such as journals, funding agencies, and universities, are often seen as hindering such interactions. These results provide a clear mandate for institutional changes to improve interactions between theorists and empiricists in ecology and evolutionary biology.