Science is what scientists do. At root.
It is weakly emergent, and subject to contention around edge cases. This could be compared to uses of the word game. That language is use does not mean there aren't very widely used heuristics about how to use it, but applies to edge cases, and to understanding how language derived progressively from non-language. Similarly with science. And this is why narrative descriptions of the emergence of science are key to describing it.
Where Aristotle was wrong, and how proving that helped raise up 'the book of nature' over the authority of other books. How Isaac Newton's devotion to alchemy, and declaration that his work on it was more important than his physics, didn't make it science - it was already disreputable and partially illegal, and he never provided compelling results to sway the scientific community like he had on physics. His prestige was not enough, even as arguably the greatest ever scientist. One of Darwin's greatest, and underrated contributions, was to be among the most prolific letter-writers in science. This helped develop and cement the idea of collected letters, which became journals. Ignaz Semmelweis testing of handwashing between morgue & labor ward, and John Snow's ending a cholera outbreak by removing a pump handle, and the failure for decades to act on them, showed how scientific values had not spread enough to counteract other values - indeed this is always a risk & source of scandals,and to be watched for and guarded against by oversight & accountability structures (strong institutions really help good science, just as they do good government).
It's interesting to look at contention in action. Soviet agricultural science & Nazi physics were communities divided from the international norms like peer review & falsifiability. Claims of superluminal particle speeds & net-energy creating devices are met with ever increasing amounts of scorn, enforcing an 'extraordinary evidence' bar that helps prevent time-wasting. Work on human germ-line cells in China and Korea, has been linked both to fraud, and violation of ethical norms about the standards of safety expected in animal models first, and participation in international ethics discussions before proceeding, which led to some scientists being cut-off from the international community and in some cases sacked. It may be that a scientific community separate from the international one emerges in this field in the future with it's own norms & regulatory regime.
Power & economic success has repeatedly backed up the norms of what has become science, chief of which is counteracting cognitive biases' by settling disagreements with evidence. Following the Needham Question about why the technologies that defined the emergence of the modern era (gunpowder, magnetic compass, canals) were invented in China but the modern era did not begin there, we can see cannon, mortar & rifle supremacy moved around politically divided Europe, where edicts like those by Japanese (Sakoku edict) & Chinese governments (sinking of the Treasure Ships) to limit foreign influence & technological development were not possible. Retreat from science, or doing it badly, meant becoming political & economic backwaters. The US & Soviet nuclear & space programmes are another clear example, of international military power being directly tied to being able to do good science. Greater internationalism and more integrated networks and open communication, in science as in economics and trade, has been a key enforcer of shared norms. The bigger the community the more powerful, in a very non-linear wsy.
Durkheim's understanding of religion, broadened to work beyond the Abrahamic template, involves the idea of collectively holding values to be sacred, beyond question, as binding together moral communities. This is useful in understanding how different sciences have different cultures, founded in exactly what they hold to be core unquestionable ideas, yet can still share deep sympathies because of a shared core, despite huge differences in practice. And in seeing how communities that don't accept core values, get pushed out or cut off from the wider scientific community ('Tobacco science' is another example of a split).
'Science is what scientists do' can be misunderstood (eg this slightly bonkers reaction to Sabine Hossenfelder saying that). But seen as a kind of language, who's development is defined by it's speakers like any language. And as binding a moral community, connected into a shared endeavour by those values. Given that understanding, that is the scientific method: it's what scientists do.