Research: the good and the bad

Published on by Anton Dahlström

I’ve been writing more and more research paper the last year, beginning with my Bachelor’s thesis and continuing with various assignment for my master studies in Supply Chain Management at Chalmers University of Technology. At first, I found reading long scientific articles about economics quite tedious. They were often quite abstract and mostly not exactly enjoyable. However, as I have spent more research effort on a range of different subjects, I have started to appreciate the process.

There is something beautiful and highly satisfying in beginning to study a particular field which is mostly unknown to begin with. As you read more and more, you start to get an increased appreciation about the characteristics and concepts that affect the thing you are studying. Eventually, you reach a state where you can start to grasp the bigger picture. When this stage is reached, you have created, through your own effort, a new frame of reference and a great appreciation for the subject matter. You feel enlightened.

During the past year, I have undertaken the previous process for the following areas: the concrete business in California, how knowledge is transferred between organisations, how the Russian gas giant Gasprom is affecting world politics and, most recent, the situation for the telecommunications industry on a global scale. One things that is quite apparent is that all of these subject can be considered to be quite boring. However, strange as it might seem, after you spend quite a bit of time trying to get a grasp of even a boring subject, it becomes highly satisfying to learn more about it. It becomes a self-enforcing loop, making you seek out more and more small pieces of information. You can also start forming your own opinions and ideas of any issues that might exist in the field, effectively creating a place from where innovation might happen.

These examples are as close as I have gotten to doctorate studies. I can say that I am starting to understand the appeal that comes from being able to dedicate a long period of time to a single area and really delve deep into it. To become submerged in a vast sea of
knowledge made available from the minds of previous seafarers.

Today, there is a concept that stops most people around the world from going through similar experiences; at least in most cases. This concept is intellectual property, or more specifically, how copyright and academic outcomes work together. Because of how the way that copyright works, much of the world’s gathered knowledge is locked in large academic databases. If a person would like to access these, they will have to pay quite substantial sums to do so. I have access to many of these document through my enrolment at Chalmers University of Technology and University of New South Wales; something that I am very grateful of. However, most people do not have that luxury. The fact that much research is paid by the state through university grants also mean that the public is essentially paying money so that companies can get research material for free, which they then sell back to the public.

As of right now, the public is paying money to a system where the knowledge is protected and accessible only to an elite in society. I believe that this system is deeply flawed and that it should be altered; this system withholds information that could be used to further the knowledge development of human kind. New knowledge is created via research, that is REVISITING already existing ideas and SEARCHING for new ones; combination of existing ideas is inherent to innovation. If the knowledge would be set free and more people would access it, I believe that we would have an increase in the creating of new ideas.

I hope that information might one day be set free.

Categories: Opinions

Add your comment

I will not publish you e-mail :-)

Please aviod using harsh words...