SOCIOLOGY OF THE RESEARCH FRONT
The notion 'research front' was introduced at the end of 50s - beginning of 60s as a metaphor, to show that research is done at the border line between the learnt and the unlearnt. Later, sociology of science came to be aware that this borderline zone had its specifics with respect to communications of researchers, evaluation and elaboration of scientific knowledge. Empirical studies show that the period of front research makes only two years. Because high intensity of research communication during this period cannot be allowed for by formal/institutionalized means, the most adequate form of communication becomes 'invisible college'. The relation between research and research front can be shown by using the notion of 'echelon' of scientific publications being at various time distance from the front: journal papers and published reports (2 years distance from the front), analytical reviews of scientific periodicals (3-4 years), individual and co-authored monographs (5-7 years), textbooks, manuals, popular-scientific publications (more than 10 years). The front research features methodological opposition between innovation and tradition; innovation and stereotype; creativity, individualism and search associated with self-organization, and the corporativism associated with research teams and disciplinary nature of science ('normal science' according to T.Kuhn). That is, science, as any other work, combines, in a specific way, productive (oriented on novelty) and reproductive (oriented on pre-set patterns) component.
CEJSH db identifier