Problems Associated with Modern Research

Research never hesitates to call spade a spade thus it’s been able to play a crucial role in solving life’s mysteries. But problems associated with modern research are plenty which needs to be figured out in order to facilitate researchers carry out their tasks swimmingly.

With the help of research, scientists have delivered landmark results in many areas like preventing a cyclone before it causes damage, or discovering cures for incurable diseases. All the same, it is also critically pertinent to recognize the hunches in the path of modern-day research, and to find solutions to better future researchers.

The Research Issues:

Ethical issues: In course of their work, researchers are often confronted with certain ethical implications, especially those associated with experiments involving human genetic manipulation, critical organ transplantation, and so on.

Practical problems: The problems faced by modern-day research are usually practical ones, such as devising ways and means to increase energy supply to meet the global demand or eliminate environmental pollutants.

PhD programs do not help much:  PhD programs offer limited opportunity to the students to equip themselves with the training necessary for pursuing a career beyond the academia. As a result, the number of PhD students graduating every year stands at a new high, but limited academic posts are available for them.

Challenges for young researchers:

Due to short-term nature of research contracts which are generally granted for a period of 3-4 years discourages in-depth research on any research problem. Young and ambitious researchers have to present a detailed and satisfying result in the research paper. Many talented budding researchers undergo enormous academic stress due to these challenges they encounter.  

Career prospects: A large proportion of researchers will not be able to secure a coveted faculty position in their chosen field of research due to overcrowding of PhD scholars. There is no strict definition of a post-doctoral researcher position, and the job titles often range from employee to associate, trainee, and student. No proper employee status, salary, and other benefits are being provided to the researchers. In addition to this, parental leave is completely subject to the wish of the supervisor. This seems to be a highly prevalent problem in the Indian context. A post-doctoral position is not really a typical job, but only a transitional position. What you aim to gain from such a position depends on the stage of life you are in, the year of your research, etc. Invariably, a re-evaluation is needed each year.

Project funding: Due to the overflowing number of grant applications and research proposals, most of them are rejected by the funders. As a case in point, NIH (National Institutes of Health), which funds biomedical research, has reduced its acceptance rate to 18.3% since 2015.

Publication bias:  As the publication pressure revs up, scientists are compelled to come up with flashy results that will help their paper to pass the editorial peer review process for publication. However, all research papers are not published – only those with positive results or with a unique conclusion get through for publication.

Reproducibility crisis: Previously, researchers used to carry out experiments on any existing study outcome for reproduction, with the objective of validating the findings. But modern research is facing an acute reproducibility crisis because of the indifference shown by funding agencies toward such researches. Usually, they prefer to support new or innovative researches. Even research journals are reluctant to publish such studies. Such studies are only entertained in cases where the outcome contradicts the old findings. Often, the low sample size or the poor study design of the old study impedes researchers in replicating the study results.

Paywall research: The gateways for disseminating research findings have also been a major reason for dissatisfaction among the research community. The subscription charges of paywalled publishers like Elsevier run up to $10,000 or $20,000 a year. This renders them beyond the reach of many researchers. In fact, some scientists pay the charges from their salary as they do not have a budget allocation for such expenditure.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism refers to the practice of affiliating someone else’s work to one’s own and using the findings as one’s own. With short-term projects and constricted timelines, researchers are now opting for this dangerous shortcut to present their paper. However, plagiarism is not at all acceptable in any form and is considered a serious breach of professional conduct, which may lead to legal as well as ethical consequences. These are some deleterious issues that have plagued the very essence of research.

Problems in the way of research need to be stamped out at the first encounter and this article “Problems Associated with Modern Research” explains why this is so important.