May 26, 2024

The goal of a useful science is to contribute to a larger collection of knowledge. This is the principal objective of research journals. However, it shouldn’t be their sole goal. A great paper can be misinterpreted, or even considered unsuitable for publication because of its inutility.

The pursuit of knowledge shouldn’t be hindered by demands for relevance. Indeed, practical questions can motivate the development of new pure research (as for instance, in the case of Michael Faraday’s electrical research, which were prompted by his fascination with lightning).

Moreover, we know that applications of technology come from many different sources. For instance an medical mission to Easter Island focused on the population’s remarkable resistance to tetanus. However, a later transfer of soil samples from that location to Ayerst Pharmaceuticals spurred further investigations into natural antimicrobials.

These examples demonstrate that the distinction between pure research’ and “applied” research is a false one. A more effective criterion is to encourage the development of a wide range of practical applications that could be made from the findings of research as well as develop the skills of scientists to recognise potential usefulness in their research. This is the key objective of the field of translational ecology that aims to alter the basic/applied paradigm of science by explicitly engaging stakeholders in the creation and use of scientific knowledge. 2017).

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