It is generally published online and some of the most common mediums used for conveying the information come in the form of articles and books.
Much of the evidence that is used to validate the arguments made would not be considered as academic as it does not originate from a peer reviewed, scientific source.
It is also independently conducted and published online by individuals and organizations, some of whom manage their own website.
The research I am referring to is of the interdisciplinary type, which is not surprising given that this kind of research is reliant upon an aggregation of information sources, some of which are not accounted for by academia.
One of the motivations for the way these researchers and organizations conduct their research stems from the recognition that there are certain matters of contention that are not being discussed in enough detail and/or are not being communicated in a truthful manner to the public.
As such, their publications are written in a format and language that is simultaneously easy to understand for the layman, and objective in terms of facticity.
The motivation also exists due to how the peer review process within the scientific community has been found to be discriminatory.
As a result of these factors, as well as others that shall be mentioned in this article, the authors tend to not publish their research in peer reviewed scientific journals or in any other sector of the scientific establishment. I have identified that because of this, there is a need for a kind of publication that may be described as semi-academic and formally designated as an Objective, Non-Academic Publication.
Even though semi-academic publications already exist, they seem to lack the recognition they deserve as they are not acknowledged as a formal publication format. It may also be due to them not having a standard structural outline.
Thus, I shall explain as to how the structural outline of the academic and non-academic publications differ, which will help to reduce the ambiguities that are associated with semi-academic publications.
Further, I shall describe as to how an objective, non-academic publication may be designed so that it becomes a practical format for conveying interdisciplinary research in a manner that is as objective and unambiguous as possible.
This is especially
appropriate for the 21st century where
the Internet has
drastically facilitated the mobilization of knowledge from the few
to the many.
Those are the,
The word "academic" originally comes from the Greek word for Academia, which was the name of the place where the philosopher Plato once taught. It also refers to the acquisition of knowledge that is,
...and therefore, open to debate. 1
This is where science comes from, because it is based upon the art of objective observation and analysis. Those that practice this art and who present their discoveries and hypotheses in the most unambiguous manner as is possible, are called scientists.
Note that the word "science" is contained within the word "conscience" which suggests that science is a method for arriving as closely as possible to the truth.
In the realm of academia, the scientific method is used when conducting a study and the results obtained from the study are converted into the form of an article.
This is usually carried out by someone who is an expert within their field of discipline and who intends to share her/his findings with other academics and/or university students.
The research findings are formally presented in an article that has an academic format. It is structured and by standard, it includes an abstract, which provides the reader with a general impression of the subject matter.
This may be followed by a section detailing the methodology of the study; that is, how it was carried out to ensure that it was as fair as possible and what were the study's limitations.
This is usually followed by a section for the literature that has been reviewed and for discussing the ideas formed by the process of having reviewed the literature. At the end of the article there is a final section containing an assorted list of informational sources that were consulted for helping to increase the clarity and legitimacy of the study.
The language of an academic article is descriptive and technical; it includes the use of words that are not commonly used in everyday language.
This helps with the identification of certain concepts or phenomena that may be challenging to describe using non-technical language.
Once an academic paper is ready to be published, it is sometimes peer reviewed. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that only research of the highest quality is published.
This is done by checking for plagiarization and to prevent authors from directly copying the work of others without having stated that they are borrowing ideas that aren't theirs.
Similarly, it also helps to ensure that the research published is adding to the knowledge base of society.
Peer review also serves as a feedback mechanism for helping to improve the quality of the work carried out by researchers, by helping them identify any errors in their research methods and/or facticity. 2
Everything I have mentioned about the peer review process should be regarded as a general rule, because there are exceptions, something which I shall discuss later in this article.
For now, I shall limit my description of the academic publication to what has been discussed so far, as this is in essence what it is comprised of.
Examples of peer
reviewed, academic articles can be found on the online scientific
Science, which is one of the world's oldest and
largest science organizations. It is also widely considered to
publish some of the best scholarly research in the world. 3
This is because its main purpose is to captivate and entertain the readers. It is not usually authored by an individual who is an expert in their field of discipline, but rather, by a features editor or journalist. The latter do not always have a background in science.
The text of the publication has minimal structure, which is to say that it usually only has an introduction, followed by a section for general discussion and a conclusion.
Research details are usually omitted as these are not deemed to be interesting or significant for the casual reader.
The language of the text is informal and technical terms are used sparingly. Even when the latter are utilized, they are not always defined. Further, the text is only reviewed by an editor, mainly for grammatical purposes. Reviewing for facticity and logic is generally not mandatory.
Examples of non-academic articles can be found on the website of The Economist, which is a magazine-format newspaper publisher.
It publishes opinion editorials that are, according to the organization based upon,
Note the emphasis (not mine) on the organization's name, indicating that the organization's publications are figuratively unscientific, as they rely on a perspective that is reflective of the organization's values.
This is also an indication that the organization employs an economic perspective, which as I must point out, is one that is recognized for being vague and unscientific.
This does not necessarily mean that what the organization reports on is untruthful, though.
What this does suggest is that its publications have a greater likelihood of being biased and inaccurate, when compared to articles that are published by a scientific journal.
Now that I have established what it means to be "academic" and have explained the differences between publications that are academic and those that are not, I shall discuss in the next paragraph what an objective, non-academic publication is,
As I have suggested in the introduction, it is neither academic, nor non-academic.
To expand on this, it is objective in that the purpose of such a publication is to present a subject matter in a way that is both reflective of what happens in reality and simultaneously, conveys this information to the reader in a manner that is easy to understand.
It is non-academic in the sense that it need not be comprised of all the characteristics that make a publication academic, as I have discussed previously.
It is called a publication because this format of publishing information is applicable not only to articles, but to books and magazines as well, for instance.
This kind of publication is a necessity, especially during the 21st century and I shall explain why. In the introduction I have suggested that there is a growing body of research that is being published online by independent researchers.
These researchers have identified that there are certain controversial subject matters that are not being investigated in enough detail, and/or not being relayed to the public in a truthful manner. 5
Because of this they have taken the initiative to publish their own research and disseminate it through non-scholarly websites, so that their work can be accessed swiftly and by anyone.
Another reason for their having taken such an initiative is that they have found the academic establishment and the peer review system to be discriminatory toward scientific research that challenges certain beliefs as to how nature functions.
Apparently, this issue is serious enough that some scientists who used to be a part of academia had been forced to voice their concerns about the importance and necessity for open scientific inquiry.
As such, websites have been created to address this issue and to make it open for public scrutiny. 6
Another reason for the necessity of the publication format I am proposing for can be associated with what has been mentioned about open scientific inquiry, although there are some differences.
Due to the rapid progression of scientific and technological research, there has been a growing trend where the socioeconomic system has been unable to make optimal use of all the available research for improving the living conditions of people.
As a response to this, a growing proportion of researchers have come to the realization that the growing gap between research and development is leading to a substantial loss in unrealized profits, as well as in the improvement in quality of life for people.
Out of the need to address this growing issue, the field of knowledge mobilization has come into existence. 7
What the term describes is the transmittance of knowledge throughout the academic and non-academic spheres of influence by producing and using research in a manner that is most efficient.
This involves the production of research from within academia and the research findings are then conveyed to non-academics, which helps to inform decisions and processes that are made in the sectors that include, but are not limited to: business, government and the media, for instance.
The reason I am bringing this into the discussion is because an objective, non-academic publication could also contribute by closing this gap even further. Independent researchers could thus have a better means for communicating their own research findings that they have found to be worthy of sharing.
Let me remind the readers that the context in which nearly everything I have discussed in this article so far, is in one way or another related to problem solving.
Because problem solving usually involves some degree of complexity, especially when the human factor is taken into account, it thus necessitates an interdisciplinary approach. 8
When extending this
further, the latter is applied when conducting research that may
involve the use of literature sources that are neither academic, nor
non-academic. I shall discuss the meaning of this in the next
paragraph, which will help to clarify what the publication type I am
proposing may be comprised of, and how it may be designed.
These tend to be distributed by non-governmental organizations whose aim is to influence public policy by presenting scientific research to a general audience. 9
They are also distributed online by independent researchers, whose aim is to discuss controversial subject matters that are not discussed in enough detail, and/or not conveyed truthfully to the public by established entities.
This is something I have already mentioned in the previous paragraph, but I am saying it again just for emphasis. As I have mentioned in the introduction, these publications currently do not seem to have any official structural format.
This can be partly attributed to their not being a formally recognized publication.
Also, it is due to the ambiguities that surround the literature sources used for validating the information that is conveyed. What I am alluding to is what is known as grey literature, which is an informal type of publication that is not published through traditional means.
As such, it is considered to be half published because it does not go through the process of publication and distribution by commercial entities. 10
Examples of grey literature may include:
Over the years, grey literature has garnered increasing attention due to the realization that it helps in conducting more in-depth research within a shorter period of time.
This has been made possible due to sources of data and information that may have not been possible to access or find through traditional means:
Even though this has permitted researchers to work with greater flexibility and speed, one of the main challenges has been in classifying the literature appropriately.
Due to the sheer range and volume of grey literature that is processed by archives and libraries, it is often difficult to locate the right kind of information, since each data or information type is usually intended for a specific purpose.
However, as the Internet becomes faster and more sophisticated, it is expected that it will become easier for people to find the literature that may need.
Already though, this is being witnessed as there is a wealth of data and information that can be found on the Internet Archive, which is one of the largest public digital libraries in the world. 11
The website may be one of the best examples where masses of grey literature can be found:
So what it is the significance of this?
In the past, information was usually conveyed either in an academic or non-academic format. This is now rapidly changing where grey literature is enabling researchers to publish semi-academic work, which caters mainly for non-scholars.
This type of research will become increasingly important in the future as the gap between the scholarly and non-scholarly spheres of influence closes.
Due to the sheer quantity of data and information produced from research and development in the scientific and technological sectors over the years, the challenge is to now synthesize it in a manner that is comprehendible for nearly any targeted audience.
Incidentally, this is what knowledge mobilization is all about.
Also, this is where an objective, non-academic publication would be useful, as it would enable the readers to extract valuable information that is conducive toward solving problems that affect society.
How though, might such a
publication be designed and what might its structural outline
Thus, I shall explain as to how an objective, non-academic publication might be designed and structured so that the framework can be used for publishing articles, books and nearly any other literary work.
This is so that the authors have the flexibility and the framework needed for publishing research that is objective and that has a measurable impact on society, without having to commit to the rigid guidelines that are required by academia.
The important thing to consider is how it is going to be used for conveying information to the targeted audience as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
What differentiates this publication from the rest is related to linguistics and its structural outline.
With regards to the former, it has been suggested that one way of improving the readability of an article is by adding "moves", which is a method authors could use in the introduction to state their intentions and to help the reader follow them in their path of analysis. 12
For example, the authors establish an area of research that they think is important and attempt to convince the reader as to why this is so. If they are investigating an area of research that is not unique, then they may state that their study is intended to address the knowledge gap left open from previous studies.
Sequentially, they may then state as to how they will be addressing that knowledge gap and this may be done by forming a hypothetical question, with the latter stimulating critical thought in the mind of the reader.
They would then proceed in explaining as to how their study is structured, allowing the reader to understand as to what they should expect.
Likewise, if the research area is unique, which also depends to what degree that might be, then the authors would follow a similar procedure, except that they would need to state as to why the research area is unique and how they made their discoveries.
Another way of making the publication more readable is by changing the text so that the reader feels as if the author is directly communicating with them.
This is done by ensuring that the text reads in the present tense and where the author directly addresses the reader, when appropriate.
For example, instead of saying,
This style of language is more likely to engage the readers as it helps them to visualize and understand more easily the information that is being communicated to them.
With regards to the latter characteristic of the publication, the structural outline has a title, an introduction, a section for research and analysis, a conclusion and a list of references. The basic structure does not include any other sections, yet they may be added by the researcher depending on the subject matter they are studying.
For instance, I have not included the methodology section because I am assuming that most individuals would use this publication framework for conducting secondary research, which involves using data and information that already exists.
When this is coupled with the linguistic alterations, it makes it possible for the authors to state their intentions throughout the entirety of their work, without needing to validate their arguments in a separate section.
Further, a methodology section is usually necessary in a publication that describes a research study that the author carried out themselves.
Since the kind of publication I am proposing does not need to involve primary research, I leave it to the discretion of the author for deciding whether additional sections are required.
If they do choose to add additional sections, then I would recommend that they follow regular academic procedures in order to maintain objectivity and for allowing the readers to replicate the results they obtained from their research study. 13
Once the author has completed their work, they should proceed to check it for errors, both factual and grammatical.
They may decide to have their article or book reviewed by friends, relatives, fellow scientists, or even a combination of all three. The author may also have their work go through the process of peer review, which based upon what I have discussed previously is unlikely to get the author anywhere, given that the academic establishment has rigid standards and is incapacitated by its own dogmatic beliefs.
Although I think it is recommendable that the author has their work reviewed by others, insofar as it helps to reduce their workload, I must emphasize that they are the ones who understand their work best.
Before they even begin thinking about sending their work for review, they should analyze it as meticulously as they can, although I admit this is not easy considering the time constraints they might have due to having other responsibilities in life.
Therefore, what I would recommend is that they task themselves with ensuring that their facticity and logic is coherent, which is what they are most capable of doing, relative to anyone else.
They could then have their work sent for review, but mainly for grammatical purposes, which can help for both:
Ideally though, the author should be able to do all error checking for themselves without needing external help because this will ultimately help them to become not only better analysts, but better communicators as well.
With that being said, I
shall illustrate the details of the publication's framework in the
It refers to a way of designing and structuring a written work so that it enables practically anyone to distribute their research findings in a manner that is easy for them to accomplish and easy for the reader to understand.
I have found that there is a need for this publication format due to a number of reasons that are mainly related to the mobilization of knowledge and to the discussion of ideas and issues that appear to be disregarded by academia.
I have also explained the importance of using grey literature, due to how it can provide the reader with unique insights as to what a certain subject is about.
Even though this publication format is comparable to those that are semi-academic, it is distinguishable due to the nature of its design and its structural outline, something that I have illustrated with examples in the latter portion of this article.
The other objective of this article was to provide an official framework for conducting the kind of research that it is designed for, something that I have found was lacking with semi-academic publications.
It should be regarded not just as a means for helping to bridge the gap between scientific research and socioeconomic development.
It should also be
regarded as a means for enabling anyone to conduct quality research
and who believes that they have something significant and that is
worth sharing due the positive impacts it could have on the state of