The ‘Insights 2024: Attitudes toward AI’ Report Reveals Researchers and Clinicians Believe in AI’s Potential but Demand Transparency in Order to Trust Tools

Elsevier’s survey of 3,000 researchers and clinicians shows willingness to use AI in their daily work, with clear differences in attitude between US, China, and India

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to transform research and healthcare, yet adoption of AI for work use remains low as does use of even the most popular AI platforms like Bard and ChatGPT, according to a new study by Elsevier, a global leader in scientific information and data analytics. The Insights 2024: Attitudes toward AI report, based on a survey of 3,000 researchers and clinicians across 123 countries, reveals that both groups see AI having the greatest potential in accelerating knowledge discovery, increasing work quality and saving costs.

However, to maximize the use of AI, both groups are clear about the specific concerns that need to be addressed: they want assurances of quality content, trust and transparency before integrating AI tools into their daily work.

Most notably, the majority of clinicians and researchers familiar with AI, said they believe in AI’s potential to help them and their organizations in their work:
• 94% of researchers and 96% of clinicians think AI will help accelerate knowledge discovery
• 92% of researchers and 96% of clinicians think it will help rapidly increase the volume of scholarly and medical research
• 92% of researchers and clinicians foresee cost savings for institutions and businesses
• 87% think it will help increase work quality overall
• 85% of both groups believe AI will free up time to focus on higher value projects.

However, both respondent groups fear further rise in misinformation could impact critical decisions:
• 95% of researchers along with 93% of clinicians believe AI will be used for misinformation
• 86% of researchers and 85% of clinicians believe AI could cause critical errors, while a similar ratio expressed concern about AI leading to weakened critical thinking
• 81% of researchers worry AI will erode critical thinking with 82% of doctors expressing concern that physicians will become over reliant on AI to make clinical decisions
• 79% of clinicians and 80% of researchers believe AI will cause disruption to society.

Researchers and clinicians expect tools to be based on high quality, trusted content and want transparency about the use of generative AI:
• If AI tools are backed by trusted content, quality controls and responsible AI principles, 89% of researchers who expressed belief AI can benefit their work would use it to generate a synthesis of articles, while 94% of clinicians who believe AI can benefit their work said they would employ AI to assess symptoms and identify conditions or diseases.
• Transparency is key. 81% of researchers and clinicians expect to be told whether the tools they are using depend on generative AI.
• 71% expect generative AI dependent tools’ results to be based on high quality trusted sources only.
• 78% of researchers and 80% of clinicians expect to be informed if the peer-review recommendations they receive about manuscripts utilize generative AI.

The findings also reveal different attitudes amongst researchers and clinicians in the world’s top three research-generating nations, the US, China and India:
• Of those familiar with AI over half (54%) have actively used AI with just under a third (31%) for a specific work-related purpose. This is higher in China (39%) and lower in India (22%)
• Only 11% of respondents consider themselves very familiar with AI or use it often. 67% of those who have not used AI expect to in two to five years with China (83%) and India (79%) outpacing the US (53%) significantly
• US respondents are less likely to feel positive about the future impact of AI on their area of work – 28% in the US vs. 46% in China, 41% in India.

Researchers and clinicians in China, India and the US who believe AI would help them in their work are more closely aligned, albeit still with some difference in how likely they are to use a trusted AI assistant to review prior studies, identify gaps in knowledge and generate a new research hypothesis for testing. Respondents in India stood at 100% likelihood, China at 96%, and the US at 84%.

Kieran West, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Elsevier, said: “AI has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives, including research, innovation and healthcare, all vital drivers of societal progress. As it becomes more integrated into our everyday lives and continues to advance at a rapid pace, its adoption is expected to rise. Researchers and clinicians worldwide are telling us they have an appetite for adoption to aid their profession and work, but not at the cost of ethics, transparency and accuracy. They have indicated that high quality, verified information, responsible development and transparency are paramount to building trust in AI tools, and alleviating concerns over misinformation and inaccuracy. This report suggests some steps that need to be taken to build confidence and usage in the AI tools of today and tomorrow.”

For more than a decade, Elsevier has been using AI and machine learning technologies in combination with our world-class peer-reviewed content, extensive data sets and expert human oversight to create products that help the research, life sciences and healthcare communities be more effective every day. We do so in line with Elsevier’s Responsible AI Principles and Privacy Principles and in collaboration with our communities to ensure our solutions help them achieve their goals. By incorporating generative AI in our offerings, we aim to make it easier and more intuitive for customers to find the information they can trust to accelerate scientific discovery, empower collaboration and transform patient care.
For the full findings from the Insights 2024: Attitudes toward AI study, including additional insights from researchers and clinicians, please visit elsevier.com/insights/attitudes-toward-ai or contact the media representative at the top of this release.