This book explores the weak explanatory and predictive power of theories across disciplines, explains reasons for limited expertise after centuries of scientific effort, and sets forth strategies to accelerate knowledge and manage a future we can only dimly comprehend.
Gaps in knowledge arose because common, natural and artificial phenomena are fundamentally hard to understand, and in expertise persists because research is unproductive. This book argues that weak research comes with huge opportunity cost because it stymies optimum decision making by government, corporations and individuals. Research needs restructuring which must come from governments' top down requirement that funding bodies foster applied research with real-world impact, and that universities influence scientific publishers to improve their publications' integrity.
This book seeks to catalyse extinction events for theories in most disciplines, which would clear a path for solving multiple crises in research. The author cautions that this process would be disruptive, unpopular and painful.
Les Coleman is a senior lecturer in Finance at the University of Melbourne and has published seven books and nearly 30 journal articles. He trained originally as an engineer and spent over 20 years in senior management positions in Australia and overseas. After completing a PhD in Management with a thesis entitled "Why Managers and Companies Take Risks" (2006), Les leveraged his industry experience and interest in decision making to conduct over 60 interviews with investment managers. This formed the basis of a trilogy that applied the scientific method to investment, but its bleak results promoted an interest in meta-research, or research into the conduct of research. Les has held part-time appointments with two investment management companies, been a trustee of three superannuation funds and a director of ten companies involved in finance, retail and distribution. He has written and spoken widely on finance and investment strategies, and for four years was a weekly columnist with The Australian newspaper.
1. What this book is about 2. The fundamentals of research 3. What has gone wrong? 4. Strategies to accelerate knowledge 5. Strategies to manage an uncertain future 6. Summary and blueprint for better research