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General remarks on the relation of private researchers to academic scholarship

Thorwald C. Franke
© 28 June 2021



In my humble opinion, the relation of private researchers and academic scholarship should be based on the following considerations: There is a reason why there is a professional academic scholarship, and its boundaries to non-professionals should not get blurred. There are many private researchers, but only few reach a professional academic level in their thoughts and works. Therefore, both worlds should stay separate and the communication between both worlds has to respect the boundaries of both worlds.

This approach protects professional academic scholarship and gives private researchers a fair chance. By drawing clear lines, it can create mutual trust and respect. It does not prevent private researchers to get attention, or to publish, or to have a controversy with professional scientists. The private researcher does not act as a supplicant. Rather, he produces his scientific contributions without asking for permission, and if his offers are not accepted, even though they are good, that is not his problem, but the risk of professional academic scholarship alone, namely the risk of becoming untrustworthy and preventing possible scientific progress.

And this approach creates awareness among scientists that the ideal of science and real-existing academic scholarship are not one and the same thing, but ...

Contributions by non-professional outsiders have to pursue the aim to be received, discussed, and – if possible – accepted by academic scholarship in the long run. Problems that cause academic scholarship to deviate from the ideal of science must be solved within the framework of academic scholarship, not by abolishing it, as there is no alternative to academic scholarship. Opinions different to the opinions voiced by academic scholarship are legitimate as long as they follow the principles of rationality and science. It is true: It may take more than a lifetime to find acceptance in academic scholarship, sometimes, and sometimes it will never be achieved, and sometimes, this is justified, and sometimes it is not.



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