Pest science in Pasteur’s Quadrant
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of Pest Science. 2023. 10.1007/s10340-023-01633-5
More than 25 years ago, Donald Stokes argued that we must move beyond the false dichotomy of basic or applied research and suggested that when considering a program of scientific research it is important to ask whether (i) the work is motivated by use and (ii) if there is a search for fundamental understanding. Giving yes/no answers to these questions allows us to characterize research more fully, replacing the “or” of “basic or applied” by a richer understanding of the process of science. Stokes proposed that research that was motivated by a consideration of use and sought fundamental understanding be called research in Pasteur’s Quadrant. One advantage of such work is that the search for fundamental understanding means that the problem-solving tools are more likely to be transferrable. After reviewing Stokes’s formulation of research, I illustrate it with examples from the control of tephritid flies and the use of insect parasitoids for biological control. Thinking about one’s work within Stokes’s framework has many advantages for individual scientists, including guidance for journal selection, how to organize and conclude papers and seminars, and the “elevator speech.” Furthermore, since research in Pasteur’s Quadrant has the characteristic of simultaneously increasing our understanding of how the world works and improving applications, it will more likely benefit the community of pest scientists.