Sunday, February 12, 2012

Innovation vs. Rumination

Since I frequented the public library in my high school days, my idea of science from the very start was 'breaking fresh ground'. During military service time, I was selected very young after high school in an intelligence class of university level with people already at graduate or even doctorial level. That strengthened my view. But then, we were all heavily selected people, mostly from the beta-side. We had gone through quite a series of tests, leaving at every stage many others behind. During my position at Utrecht University I did not change my mind. But, I knew much better by now. 
Breaking fresh ground proved to be far from evident. Most scholars are largely ruminating previous research. To avoid any misconceptions though, such research is very necessary. Not only for educational purposes, but also to strengthen and elaborate on each field of knowledge. However, one might question the wisdom of the existing skewed ratio between the overwhelming rumination, and the small innovatiion part. Striving for a 10% innovation share should be pursued, for instance, through special units. Once, during lunch, I proposed to start every publication with a summary of the new scientific material added. I found that such a statement should not be made that occasionally while people are eating - it may lead to choking. 
Actually, my analytical approach used to be contrariwise to rumination. Most of the time I assumed beforehand, that no previous research had been done. After completing one of my analyses, I started to look for publications on the subject. Then, I wrote the 'final' introduction, comparing my approach to previous research, and adding a literature list to the publication. Editors appreciate those lists very much. Of course, it is also a matter of justice to those, who have paid attention to the subject before, whether near or peripheral.