Scholarly studies have piled up showing that race and gender diversity in the workplace can increase creative thinking and improve performance. Meanwhile, excessive homogeneity can lead to stagnation and poor problem-solving.Unfortunately, new research also shows that academia has itself stopped short in both the understanding and practice of true diversity — the diversity of ideas — and that the problem is taking a toll on the quality and accuracy of scholarly work.
But even honest researchers are affected by the unconscious bias that creeps in when everyone thinks the same way. Certain results — especially when they reinforce commonly held ideas — tend to receive a lower standard of scrutiny. This might help explain why, when the Open Science Collaboration’s Reproducibility Project recently sought to retest 100 social science studies, the group was unable to confirm the original findings more than half the time. . . .
Improving ideological diversity is not a fundamentally political undertaking. Rather, it is a question of humility. Proper scholarship is based on the simple virtues of tolerance, openness and modesty. Having people around who think differently thus improves not only science, but also character.