‘Currently the scientific process is doing a major disservice to patients and society.’ That was the conclusion of a paper that popped on my Twitter field today. It’s like the entire universe is conspiring to say something to all of us in this field and I am so here for it. The authors led by Calster et al. (2021) basically stated that ours is an enterprise where the quality of the work we do remains poor. The criticisms remain longstanding. Business as usual is the backbone of the enterprise where most initiatives to address this issue are top-down. I guess I am not alone is all I can say. That and we all need to do better. COVID19 made it painfully clear. According to Calster and colleagues (2021) ‘the focus remains more on the destination (research claims and metrics) than on the journey. And so the problem of poor research persists. The problem is deteriorating further.’
‘Notwithstanding, research should serve society more than the reputation of those involved. Science should not be a game in which we collect credits to reach the next level of our career.’ Which made me decided to keep this today. With research, even with the publications you write, keep being in service to people.
Be in service to people as you study disease prevention, disease management and disease treatment. Be in service to people without focusing on disease too. Be in service to people as you reduce poor quality research, reduce poor design, reduce poor research conduct, or reduce poor reporting. Be in service to people to simply reduce ‘research waste’. Be in service to people with research that has value for patients, research that has value to society. Be in service with research that is simply of value and not harmful.
But of all this, know that research waste remains a persistent problem. Research waste is structural injustice. Research waste is costly and truly harmful to society. Research waste is a function of all of us in academia. We are the problem with research waste. We can also be the solution. And I want to be counted in the number of those working towards a solution.