This is a project aimed at measuring, disseminating, studying and fostering scientific consensus on matters of scientific and social conversy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

By collecting and displaying anonymized responses from invited experts it aims to meet multiple objectives, including:

An example of a preliminary analysis can be found in this LSE blog post .

To track the level of consensus, it uses a simple measure of "proportional entropy explained":

where H(Y) is the Shannon entropy (information content) of the distribution of answers Y (e.g. "none", "little", etc. but excluding "don't know"). This is a simplified version of a K function that has been elsewhere proposed as a general metric of knowledge.

Consensus is full when k=1, and all respondents give the same answer, whatever that answer is. Conversely, k=0 means that all answers are equally likely - in other words, we have no idea what any one thinks.
Note that this measure is most useful as the sample of respondents grows larger - because the probability to disagree increases. Conversely, if only a single opinion is taken, then consensus will be trivially maximal (there no possibility of disagreement).

How is the data obtained?

This project is a creation of Daniele Fanelli

I am a methodologist and meta-scientist, currently a Fellow in Quantitative Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science .

Most of my research is devoted to understanding and quantifying the nature of knowledge , differences between disciplines, and the prevalence and causes of bias and misconduct in science. I am a member of two national research integrity committees (CNR in Italy and LARI in Luxembourg) and I have been involved in numerous projects and policy reports to improve scientific practices.

I am increasingly concerned by the polarization and politicization of scientific debates and the propensity of social media to discourage or even actively suppress dissenting but honest opinions. With this project, I hope to contribute to a solution. You can read more about me at my personal website, check the webpages of the wonderful Department of Methodolgy, and please do feel free to contact me.