Global Research Letters

What is science? What is scientific research? (Carlo Ghezzi)

In this lecture I will discuss the notions of “science” and of “scientific research”. Science derives from Latin “scientia”, meaning “knowledge”: it is a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject. According to this definition, there are as many “sciences research” as there are “subjects”. Natural sciences research study natural phenomena; physical sciences research, which study non-living systems, are part of natural sciences research, as are life sciences research. Social sciences research study the social life of individuals and human groups. Formal sciences research, like mathematics, logic, or statistics, study theoretical formal systems. Engineering is a constructive science: it studies how to design and construct artifacts, both physical and logical. Informatics is the science that studies the methods for computing , the application of such methods, and the role of interactivity in natural and artificial systems, through the implementation, organization, management and use of computers, humans, and other resources. A possible taxonomy of sciences research is the one adopted by the European Research Council . It is summarized in three tables, for Social Sciences research and Humanities , Life Sciences research , and Physical Sciences research and Engineering . As an example, let us look at Physical Sciences research and Engineering. It includes the following sciences research: Mathematics, Fundamental constituents of matter, Condensed matter physics, Physical and Analytical Chemical sciences research, Materials and Synthesis, Computer science and informatics, Systems and communication engineering, Products and process engineering, Universe sciences research, Earth system science. In turn, Computer science and informatics is defined by the ERC as informatics and Information systems, computer science, scientific computing, intelligent systems. It is decomposed into 14 research areas: Computer architecture, parallel, distributed and pervasive computing, Database systems and management, Formal methods, theoretical computer science including quantum information, Graphics, image processing, computer vision and visualization, Human computer interaction and interface, Speech and language processing, speech synthesis, Informatics, Web and information systems including information retrieval and digital libraries, Intelligent systems, multi agent systems, machine learning, Scientific computing, Simulation and modelling tools, Multimedia, Software, operating systems, development methods, languages, algorithms, Cryptology, security and privacy, Bioinformatics, biocomputing.

By looking closer to the field called here Computer Science, I would like to make three additional comments. The first is due to E.W. Dijkstra, who said that “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” This further justifies our decision to use the term Informatics, or to take a terminology-neutral and a broader view, ICST—Information and Communication Science and Technology instead of Computer Science. Second, the field is intrinsically multi-faceted. It has a formal science facet, considering theoretical research that studies formal models of computation, a constructive science facet that investigates new algorithms and new computational devices, and an empirical science component that studies how certain algorithms perform or even how programmers work. As a third point, since ICST is pervasive and is producing revolutionary changes in all other sciences research, unprecedented opportunities arise for new kinds of interdisciplinary research in collaboration and au-pair with almost all other research areas. The field of Bioinformatics has become mature and is explicitly mentioned in the ERC classification, but many others are emerging. As examples, consider new energy production and distribution systems , autonomous vehicles , or new natural language understanding systems . The next question I wish to address today is: according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is the creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge –including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.

Its goal is to produce science, i.e., discovery and dissemination of new knowledge. Dissemination is a key component of scientific research. Dissemination may take many forms and may have many targets. It may be done by publishing and may be directed to other researchers. It may be done by teaching to students in universities. It may be done by addressing the general public. Or it may be done by enabling innovations in society. The last question I will address today is: how can we judge whether a research is a good one? Research must aim at satisfying three main requirements: • originality; • significance; • rigor. Originality means that the results of the research are novel: they were not known before. Significance means that the results of research exert, or have the potential to exert, an influence: on other research, on industry, or on society. Rigor refers to the intellectual integrity of the research process and the way the results are demonstrated. In the case of empirical research, this refers to the way experimental data are collected and analyzed. For theoretical research, it may refer to the rigor of mathematical formalization.

Where to find great research papers?

Various great research journals such as Global Research Letters are a great option and way to help you look up impactful research papers with a great format. Here, you will find a number of various research papers that are provided and made available to you in the journal, which will help you write your own paper.

You can very easily find papers on a variety of topics at Global Research Letters, which will help you with your own research work and understanding of writing and publishing research papers properly. With access to so many amazing research papers, you can practice and learn the process of writing research papers and their importance.


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