I graduated in Natural Sciences, giving exams in all fundamental disciplines, then obtained a PhD studying the behaviour and genetics of social wasps, and subsequently worked for two years as a science writer.
Since then, I have studied the nature of science itself and the mis-behaviours of scientists.

Professional highlights

I was one of the first natural scientists who specialized 24/7 in the study of scientific misconduct, bias and related issues, and have produced some of the largest studies assessing the prevalence of bias across disciplines and countries. Some of these publications have become quite influential, and my is one of the most popular papers published in the Public Library of Science, currently counting over 300,000 views.
My work and opinions are regularly cited in the popular press, and I have been involved at various levels with international conferences and initiatives. I am a member of the Luxemburg Agency for Research Integrity, for which I conduct investigations and give policy advise, and the Research Ethics and Bioethics Advisory Committee of CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy), for which I led the development of the first CNR research integrity guidelines.

Primary Research interests

My research interests have developed along four inter-connected themes. In reverse chronological order these include:

5) Developing new methodologies to foster scientific progress and public understanding of the scientific process. I have most recently started to test computational tools to help scientists debate and reach consensus in a way that is both public and protected, with the aim of at once divulging the state of scientific debates on controversial issues, help relevant experts communicate and reach consensus, and study how opinions change over time. This and other ideas in the pipelilne build directly from a theoretical understanding of what knowledge and progress consist in and from an empirical estimation of the challenges that increasingly face scientific progress, which are derived from the work below.

4) Theoretical understanding and modellling of knowledge. Combining ideas and tools of computational complexity, information theory, statistics, and sociology and philosophy of science, I have recently proposed an entirely new approach to understanding, measuring and forecasting scientific diversity and knowledge dynamics. Its most immediate applications include: tools to forecast the risk of bias and irreproducibility in research of all disciplines, empirical classification criteria for sciences and pseudosciences, new methods to conduct meta-analyses of the literature. Furthermore, it may expand into a quantitative methodology to study art, humour and other cognitive phenomena.

3) Measuring the prevalence of bias, scientific misconduct, and questionable research practices across all disciplines and countries. This research uncovered several new phenomena, including a correlation between the percentage of published positive results and putative “softness” of a scientific discipline.

2) Testing common hypotheses on risk factors for scientific bias and misconduct. Combining various types of study design, computational methods and statistical models, this work has produced some of the largest direct empirical tests to date, with results that have often challenged commonly held assumptions in the field.

1) Understanding the diversity of scientific fields, methodologies and practices. Following from findings in topics 1 and 2 above, I have endeavoured to assess if and how scientific disciplines vary along a variety of measurable characteristics of the published literature using a combination (e.g. stylistic properties of abstracts, modularity of co-citation networks) using computational and bibliometric techniques.



Representative additional training


Academic positions


Professional service


Other interests

When I am not thinking about science, I am often exploring other facets of the cognitive spectrum. I am a regular meditator, play the piano, dabble in boxing, and have an occasional go at the figurative arts. Here are some examples of my photographs and occasional pencil drawings. One of them was amongst the winners of Stanford's 2015 SLAC Photowalk competition, which so far is the only photography competition I ever participated - that's a 100% success rate, people!