Conservation science practitioners seek to preempt irreversible impacts on species, ecosystems, and social–ecological systems, requiring efficient and timely action even when data and understanding are unavailable, incomplete, dated, or biased. These challenges are exacerbated by the scientific community's capacity to consistently distinguish between reliable and unreliable evidence, including the recognition of questionable research practices (QRPs, or “questionable practices”), which may threaten the credibility of research, including harming trust in well-designed and reliable scientific research. In this paper, we propose a “toolkit” for open and pluralistic conservation science, highlighting common questionable practices and sources of bias and indicating where remedies for these problems may be found. The toolkit provides an accessible resource for anyone conducting, reviewing, or using conservation research, to identify sources of false claims or misleading evidence that arise unintentionally, or through misunderstandings or carelessness in the application of scientific methods and analyses. We aim to influence editorial and review practices and hopefully to remedy problems before they are published or deployed in policy or conservation practice.
- expert judgment
- motivational bias
- open science
- questionable research practices