Research is the process of “systematic investigation or inquiry aimed at contributing to knowledge of a theory, topic, etc., by careful consideration, observation, or study of a subject.” (

These recommendations focus on research projects, i.e. projects that seek to create new knowledge. An important question is what counts as new knowledge. Much research is undertaken in academic institutions where new knowledge is seen as knowledge that did not exist prior to the research. In other context knowledge may count as new if it has not previously been applied to a particular question or problem. This is one key cause of friction between academic researchers and other partners in projects (CSOs but also industry) who are typically less interested in the absolute novelty than in the practical application.

This potential cause of friction is exacerbated by the role of publications in research. Some definitions of research underline the need for research to be published in order to count as research. Incentive systems within academic institutions are typically strongly influenced towards publications which are the main output of many researchers. Users of research or participants in research projects often do not share the focus on publications and want to see practical impacts of research. This interest in impacts is increasingly taken up by research funders to assess the quality of research. This, in turn, can lead to opposition from researchers who often underline the impossibility of foreseeing which practical and social outcomes research will lead to.