Scientific research is all about the acquisition of information, the integration and dissemination of knowledge, and the generation of reliable predictions. It is also a deeply social process, with rules, practices and incentive structures that are dynamic and constantly negotiated within the community. This social dynamics of scientific research may lead to discrepancies between the objectives of scientific research and the incentives provided for the individual researchers to acquire and disseminate findings in an efficient, unbiased and undistorted way. It is therefore of importance to develop mechanisms that help ensuring that incentives and objectives of scientific research remain aligned.
Prediction markets have recently been established as popular forecasting tools. They provide a powerful mechanism to aggregate private information, generate and disseminate a consensus among the market participants, and provide incentives for information acquisition. Their potential in forecasting has been demonstrated in a number of domains, such as sports, entertainment and politics. And although prediction market have been argued to potentially provide valuable functionality for the practice of scientific research - most notably in Robin Hanson's paper Could Gambling Save Science - relatively little has been done to develop potential applications of prediction markets within the context of scientific research.
The Science Prediction Market Project aims to fill this gap. By organizing markets on research projects, we are exploring how prediction markets can contribute to the objectives of scientific research.