The great conundrum of research

Wiki is emphatic in defining “research”- It clearly states:

Research comprises “creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”[1] It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories.

Despite the huge funding, caveats apply. Its kind of chicken-and-egg situation. Do we do research to define the question in place or work on something that has already been covered?

Reproducibility is the cornerstone which breeds dirty politics in science. Whats the point of spending millions without reproducible results? Scientists attack each other in conferences/ feedback via letters and the same applies downstream to medical researchers. Likewise, window dressing “research breakthroughs” in mainstream media almost seems like convincing lay investors that a Nobel prize is in the making.

My only question- what is the applicability of “research” for whom it really matters? The patients! Aren’t they deprived of the same “breakthroughs” that promise a lot?

This, of course, is an over simplified way to put it- a solid body of evidence requires years of “phase three” trials with proper statistical correlates. The committees that sit back and deliberate on “consensus opinions”. The presentation in conferences rubbing shoulders with peers and then perhaps it filters down to general practitioners and other allied specialists.

Do we need to stick with old formulaic prescriptions or actually devise “out-of-box” thought processes? The big question. Is medical science really ripe for disruption?

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