There’s no blueprint for excellence, but some building blocks are crucial.
Research institutes and "centres of excellence" exist around the world to draw talent and to share resources - all with the aim of solving important problems.
It may take time for a tiny step forward to show its worth.
Scientists are rewarded with funding and publications when they come up with innovative findings. But in the midst of a 'reproducibility crisis,' being new isn't the only thing to value about research.
Science itself needs to be put under the microscope and carefully scrutinised to deal with its flaws.
We are observing two new phenomena. On one hand doubt is shed on the quality of entire scientific fields or sub-fields. On the other this doubt is played out in the open, in the media and blogosphere.
It’s good for scientists to work in glass laboratories.
Science isn't cold, hard facts uncovered by emotionless robots. Acknowledging how and where values play a role promotes a more realistic view and can advance science's reputation for reliability.
The Taung child (foreground) was the first of a long series of human ancestors discovered in Africa.
Recent research suggests that humankind's origins lay outside of Africa. This is the nature of science: a paradigm that cannot be questioned on a regular basis becomes a dogma.
The National Research Foundation doesn’t have enough money for the growing number of researchers who qualify for “incentive” funding.
South Africa's National Research Foundation will dramatically scale back “incentive” funding to rated researchers, both those who already have a rating and those who will be rated in the future.
Alfred Nobel didn’t foresee the current era of mega scientific collaboration.
© Nobel Media AB Pi Frisk
Today's scientific research is characterized by interdisciplinary, international collaboration. Awards like the Nobel Prizes haven't caught up.
Research must be carefully scrutinised by peer reviewers to ensure its veracity.
Scientific truth is based on a body of research which has been tried and tested by many researchers over time. Peer review filters the good science from the bad.
Basic research and applications coexist in a tangled two-way ecosystem.
A new study connects the dots between published science and patented innovations, mapping just how society benefits from basic scientific research.
Impacts of federal research funding can be felt region-wide.
Research dollars don't stay locked up in academia and government labs. R&D collaborations with the private sector are common – and grow the innovation economy.
Even if alien life is never discovered, all is not lost.
Africa’s scientists are doing remarkable work.
Africa's overall contribution to research might be small, but smart people are undertaking smart and important work on and about the continent.
A baby Hawaiian bobtail squid, measuring just 1.5cm across, is pictured using photomacrography.
Mark R Smith/Macroscopic Solutions
A better understanding of science among ordinary people validates the vast amounts of public funds spent on scientific research.
Collecting the data comes first, but then you have to analyze the data.
Any field that collects and analyzes data relies on statistical techniques to make sense of it all. Modern, more accurate methods should supplant the old ways... but in many cases, they haven't yet.
Not much science will get done without the money to fund people and equipment.
What are research dollars actually spent on? Rather than looking at artifacts like publications and patents, a new initiative directly tracks the people and businesses that receive research funding.
There wouldn’t be statues acclaiming Darwin and his theory if it couldn’t stand up to decades of testing.
In science, the word 'theory' has a very specific meaning that's easy for nonscientists to misunderstand or misconstrue. Here's what a theory must withstand to be accepted by the scientific community.
The case for neoclassicism in science.
So many good ideas fail to make it out of the research lab because of a lack of funding.
It’s not always obvious where a new technology will end up.
NIH Image Gallery
A scientific breakthrough in a vacuum may be free of ethical implications. But many developments can be used for good or evil, or both. There's a fine balance on what to control and to what extent.
More is less in the world of research publications.
Desktop image via www.shutterstock.com.
The traditional mode of publishing scientific research faces much criticism – primarily for being too slow and sometimes shoddily done. Maybe fewer publications of higher quality is the way forward.