Blog Post #1 – Juliana Mi

“The research enterprise of a leading academic institution is a complex system of human, physical and digital infrastructures that functions to support the production of new knowledge and the advancement and training of research practitioners.”

This statement is interesting, because to me, it doesn’t exactly evoke a reaction, which makes responding to it with an opinion rather difficult. There is nothing particularly wrong about the statement, or anything that I would immediately pick out to criticize. It seems more like a company mission statement than a definition, though, as if it is trying to promote the idea of an “elite” group of academic institutions and researchers.

To me, the word “enterprise” seems out of place when describing research. The word is often used in conjunction with business ventures and associated with the value of monetary return rather than academic. “The research enterprise”, therefore, implies that these “leading academic institutions” are looking for more than just knowledge, and are hoping to make a economic return as well. I feel that research should be more purely knowledge-based, but in actuality, much of the research done today is, in fact, looking for something monetary as well.

As for the elements that make up research, “human, physical, and digital” is very much a generalization. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible to list all of the elements that contribute to research in an academic institution, so this should suffice, but it makes research seem like it only relies on these three, and that only when these three are all (and equally) present, can research progress. There should exist a delicate balance between the three, but a slight lacking of one or another would not exactly hinder the continuation of research. In fact, not having everything would probably lead to more creative ways of thinking, and less reliance on any of the three.

Lastly, “the production of new knowledge” does not seem sufficient for describing the purpose of doing research. Research is not just about producing new knowledge, because without applying this knowledge, having it available would be essentially useless. There would be no point in producing knowledge if it wasn’t going to be used. I think somewhere towards the end of the definition, something such as “the application of the acquired knowledge” should be included as well.

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