Values for a Successful Research & for Researchers

Santosh K Chaturvedi*
Department of Mental Health Education, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, India

*Corresponding author: Santosh K Chaturvedi, Department of Mental Health Education, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, India

Published: 20 Mar, 2017
Cite this article as: Chaturvedi SK. Values for a Successful Research & for Researchers. Clin Oncol. 2017; 2: 1232.


Researchers in science and medical fields have been examining many aspects of life, including illnesses and diseases. The research is mainly on the cause of diseases and successful treatment of diseases. This is a challenge as the cause of many diseases is not well understood, which is probably related to the complex nature of diseases, which the researchers are unable to unravel. Researchers now a day’s focus on publication of their study, as the end result of the research, rather than the finding discovered. The aim of the researcher is to publish in a good journal, a popular journal or a famous well-known international journal. Many a times the job of the researcher finishes with that. The publication is needed for career growth, promotion, awards, fellowships and new appointments. The researcher does not look at the value of their research. Has the research made an impact? On the other hand, the current focus is on has the publication of the researcher made an impact - which may be like has it been read by many people, has it been cited by many researchers, has it got an impact factor. Actually none of these have any public value, for that matter probably has no social value, forget spiritual value. The publication being read by many people does not change the society. Even, being cited and referenced by many scientists seems irrelevant. Friends cite each other. Nobody can cite or refer to all the published articles, because they may be in thousands. So one chooses some of the articles, for the sake of a formality, of writing a review of literature. It does not do any good for the understanding of illness or for the treatment of the illness. The intent behind the research is often driven by self-growth in terms of career, name and fame in the field. What happens if the intent is not self but humanity? It is tricky as many researchers/research might fall apart. The researchers should think about the value of their study before starting the proposed research. Value should be considered during the planning of the research. They should look beyond the rat race of publications, of publish or perish. They should look at the usefulness of the study for larger public good. Does the research serve any purpose for the mankind? What is the deeper ‘meaning’ of the research? Does it contribute to the collective consciousness? The research should emancipate, evolve and enhance the researcher. It should lead to the personal and spiritual growth of the researcher. The study of disease should lead the researcher to introspect and study oneself also. Only a few research can be done on one’s own. There are collaborators, partners and co investigators in any researches. Everybody contributes their part. It gives them an opportunity to work with each other, understand each one’s perspectives, and bond with each other. Their coming together may also be the purpose, in adding value to the research. Sadly, now-a-days, some teams form for personal and individual gains, rather than the larger value of the research. They are competitive with each other, leading to rifts and conflicts within the group or team. The lucky and blessed find suitable, selfless collaborators, who conduct research, for the sake of research, and to understand and mitigate suffering. The researcher should increase and replenish lost spiritual values in their research work. In this crowd and chaos of journals, and publications the value has been lost. This needs to be revived. This is can be done by looking at values, social impact, public impact, public good, before the study is planned that would be a good use of the funds. We hope that future researchers would consider this aspect of value and spirituality in all studies. Research should become meaning centered. Even if a research teaches one lesson of life, it is successful. How can the lost spiritual values be replenished, itself is a topic of research. We have been so distant from values, that we have forgotten the value of values, and attracted towards the glitter of benefits and awards of research and publications, which are all transient and superficial charms.
The bottom line of all research should be the search for the ‘truth’. There is no one truth – it has millions and millions of truths which pervade in all parts of life. The researchers need to study these truths, which itself will be a big challenge. There are so many mysteries in this life which need to be understood. Every study should address one of these millions of parts of truths. Ethical dilemmas can be dealt with spiritual ways. We now a days need ethic committees because researchers tend to be unfair to their subjects. Imagine, a committee has to tell the researcher about what is right and what is wrong, how the research should be done, how to ensure that the subject is not being harmed, and has autonomy to decide to participate in the research. In present day research, what seems to be lacking is the search for meaning. Viktor Frankl, a well-known psychiatrist and writer wrote a book on Man’s search for meaning. It was a one man qualitative research of human existence in a Nazi concentration camp. Sadly, today research has no soul, except when the research is on soul. The research should open the doors and corridors of human existence, the meaning and purpose of existence. Many persons suffer from existential neurosis, not understanding their meaning of existence. One should also acknowledge that there is a developmental trajectory of values in research or value based research. In early career, it does not even cross one’s mind; and as mentioned earlier, the purpose of research is publication in order to get one’s promotion, awards, fellowships and personal materialistic gains. Only when this is no longer the purpose, near time of retirement, one starts thinking about values. Research training should bring this element forward and should be a key part of any research, as important, if not more than, ethics in research. Most research questions start with a ‘why’. It is a natural or artificial curiosity, to find answers to things poorly understood. In all this, a question – why me – is the most difficult. This is the commonest and the most difficult question asked by persons suffering from any misery, pain or disease. Doctors give literal answers, based on statistics, which they think are facts, but that does not satisfy the questioner. Why me – is a spiritual question, which the person himself or herself has to answer. The process would start with an attempt to seek the answer, and in the process, understands or misunderstands, the meaning of one’s own existence.
There is an spiritual universe. People have ability to feel or understand this spirituality around them. The ability to feel this and express this is called lexicosmia, and those who lack this ability are called alexicosmia.