4 A Systemic Approach to Research Stewardship

The chapter highlights the current lack of a systemic assessment of to the research environment. To counter this, there is a need for a systematic collection of data on the research environment and for integrating them into a cohesive picture. To this effect, the project draws on a "systems science" view of the research environments with particular emphasis on the network aspects of the system's component. A discussion of the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of applying this approach to the Australian S&T research environment is discussed.

A "marketplace of ideas" can only work within a thriving environment

1 Lack of A Whole-Of-Research View

There is a need of a system-wide assessment of the system, how it operates and how to influence its operation.

Anticipation is a justified belief of what future outcomes current events in the environment will lead to. Better knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms governing current events are therefore necessary to achieve a belief that is closer to the truth.

2 Network Theory and Structural Qualities of the Environment

A Clinical Approach to Analysing the System

A Paradigmatic change
A fundamental change in the way diseases were dealt with in the 18th century is indicated
"... by the minute but decisive change, whereby the question: What is the matter with you?, with which the eighteenth-century dialogue between doctor and patient began ... was replaced by that other question: Where does it hurt?"
Foucault, The birth of the clinic p. xviii

The clinical approach as a thought-experiment
Diagnosis becomes "perceptible and stable... a welding of the disease onto the organism":
"a new distribution of the discrete elements of corporal space" (which corresponds to Topology)
"a reorganization of the elements that made up the pathological phenomenon" (which corresponds to Patterns)
"a definition of the linear series of morbid events" (which corresponds to Evolution)
Foucault, The birth of the clinic p. xviii

Evidence-based medicine is "the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research." (BMJ, 13 Jan 96, Sackett, David L.).