Applied Research: a Diverse Business

I am currently finalising this year’s research and have some findings I can share here. More specifically, I want to talk about the diverse nature of applied research and its relationship with the field.

Fundamental — Practical

I became aware of the diverse nature of applied research through my conversations with researchers here at the Create-IT. While some projects address very specific practical problems and create working solutions for them, other projects look at the creative industries and its current situation from a more theoretical point of view.

For — With

While some researchers are involved in more fundamental research in the form of for instance a PhD, others work together with these organisations on a more daily basis. They may form consortia to tackle a challenge that exists in the field through experimentation and research together with these organisations. Others again work on contract research for one specific company, or in yet another construction, use a more general existing problem that, once solved, will benefit the entire field.

Publish for: Researchers — Professionals

While in academic research the primary reason for publishing an article is -probably- to join the conversation with other researchers about a particular topic. As applied research has much stronger ties to actual application in the field, this introduces new kinds of publications and audiences to research dissemination. I asked researchers about their most common imagined audience for their publications (researchers or professionals) and they actually indicated that overall each was as important as the other.

Closed — Open

When aiming to reach professionals as well as researchers, the openness of results and their publication becomes essential. Some of the researchers indicate that their results are delicate in terms of privacy or commercial competitive information, and cannot be published openly. It is important to be aware of this concern in any imagining of publishing models for applied research. However, an overwhelming majority of researchers indicated that, in general, their results can be published openly.

Now what?

All these differences mean that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to publishing to benefit the creative industries.On top of the differences between research projects, different sectors have different dependencies on applied research. We need to allow for these differences and look at different cases to find the right way forward. In the coming two months, I will propose how to do this.