Unfortunately transformative science is often not a success when it comes to the sphere and criteria of transactional science. In the transactional domain the only criteria of success is quantitative and measured in dollars (or euros or yen, etc.)
The reality for most scientists today is that no matter how transformative your ideas and your work might be, you also need a huge transactional component to your professional life or pretty soon you won’t have the funding or the lab to do the transformative work anymore. This seems even more the case in today’s low-funded research world.
Is the dominance of transactional science such a bad thing?
Overall it is unhealthy for science since, for example, scientists appear to be spending more time on transactional elements of science rather than on transformative things.
What do I mean by that?
In today’s transactional dominated world, scientists are spending an increasing proportion of their time basically fundraising. Writing grants. Honing grantsmanship. Doing experiments specifically for grant preliminary data rather than driven by transformative ideas. Working the philanthropy side of things.
By contrast, transformative activities would include these kinds of things: reading, thinking, teaching, mentoring, model building, listening to others, doing risky pilot experiments, etc.
So are you as transformative a scientist as you think or has transactional science become a dominant vein in your daily professional life? How is this playing out more generally in science?
Can you have the best of both worlds to be transformative and transactional?