Exploring the Logic and Landscape of the Knowledge System: Multilevel Structures, Each Multiscaled with Complexity at the Mesoscale
Engineering, 2016, 2(3): 276-285
The concerted efforts of all stakeholders are needed in order to effect the necessary changes. Complete understanding of the structure and logic of the knowledge system and the changes in the scientific research environment will lead to the gradual formation of a new layout of S&T and a new scientific research paradigm. This paradigm will be one of the characteristics of S&T in the 21st century. However, it calls for intentional joint efforts; otherwise, this process could be very slow due to our inertia in thinking. The purpose of this paper is to remind the global community that the advancement of this process requires the joint efforts of all disciplines as well as firm support from governments. Dissolving disciplinary boundaries, appreciating new thoughts, and so forth, require an open mind and impetus from the S&T community, the government, and all international science organizations. The attitudes of all parties toward these changes will largely determine the occurrence of a new S&T revolution, and the formation of a new scientific research paradigm, which are essential for open and global science, where “open” refers not only to accessing knowledge, but also to the way of thinking, and “global” refers not only to space, but also to transdisciplinarity in all sciences, as a whole landscape! Natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences will be unified, to some extent, through the common path of mesoscales, with increasing understanding of possible common principles. All parties concerned should fully recognize this point. Only in this way can humanity respond effectively to the challenges of globalization.
In addition, these changes will call for a reformation of national innovation systems, education systems, and scientific research management modes in all countries. All governments should actively adapt to these changes, make necessary adjustments in their national innovation systems, and optimize the scale and structure of their S&T systems. At the global level, international science organizations should consider the relationships among the innovation systems of all nations and even the establishment of a global innovation system—or, at least, cooperation among different nations in the context of “open and global science.” This is the only way we can effectively enhance the efficiency and capacity of the innovation system, and ensure the rapid development of S&T under the condition of a limited increase in scientific research investment. This paradigm shift is probably much more important than merely demanding investment and pursuing rewards from investment in S&T.
Finally, this author wants to emphasize that we are in an era of fast changes. The capability and flexibility to adapt to these changes will be crucial in speeding up the development of S&T and thereby addressing global challenges. Scientific communities, industries, governments, and, in particular, international organizations with the capability and responsibility of raising a global voice in science, should make this paradigm shift a priority in their work!
English Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2016.03.001
Chinese Version: http://www.engineering.org.cn/ch/10.1016/J.ENG.2016.03.001