Research is for Everyone

from Wikimedia and is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The purpose of research has always been to expand the understanding of the world around us, but it seems today that access to this research is a privilege only for a small caste of people. For decades, scholars have spread their research using Scholarly Publishers who then provide that information to other scholars. Those scholars then take that research, potentially use it to advance their own, and publish it to be spread back to their peers. The only other people who have access to these publications are university students, but they might as well not have it because the language used in the publications is so complicated that it can only be discerned by scholars. The result of all of this is scholars seeming to live in a world to themselves, sharing their information only with those who they deem worthy.

Why would anyone want to have access to this research?

New information should not be the privilege of a few, but a right to many. This is not only to help expand the knowledge of those seeking a higher intellect, but to further research at a rate greater than that of today. My mother always told me that two minds worked better than one, and in this case, the collective knowledge of the world is better than the knowledge only held by scholars. By having research shared with everyone in a language that is comprehensible, opportunities will arise for people to become interested in fields of study and strive to arrive at the same scholarly levels of the people that made the discoveries. It would also give people all over the world the ability to not only know more about how far research is going today, but to potentially comment on the research themselves, adding their own variable to new information.

How can research be spread to everyone?

Great strides have already been made in the right direction. According to David H. Nguyen on Synonym, many scientists are providing their research to media outlets to be published and shared with the general public. This is done through popular magazines, television, and other variations of media that are easily accessible to the public. The result is research being published and spread rapidly to all kinds of people throughout the world. Scholars are also now able to have a conversation with people who are interested in their research. Social media and outlets that allow conversation are now being used by scholars to share and receive feedback. Allowing everyone access, allows everyone to contribute to the work themselves.

Why would scholars want my contribution?

You’d be surprised at how valued your opinion is. It might not be just one person’s opinion, rather the collective opinion and discussion about a certain piece of research that is so valuable. As Cat Pause and Deborah Russell state in the Journal of Applied Social Theory, it is not the original post that is the final product of your research, but the original post AND all of the comments/discussion included. By allowing people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds review and comment on research, the review process becomes more inclusive. This also leads to key perspectives that would not have been noted if the work was only reviewed by close peers. These perspectives are what make sharing with the world so important in furthering our understanding of everything around us.

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