The SEMF project is conceived in the context of the Information Age and with the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing. This is a time marked by the abundance of data but also by the lack of general interpretative frameworks. Further, the democratisation of media and communications enabled by the internet, certainly a desirable development, entails a greater risk for the desvirtuation and devaluation of rigorous consensual knowledge.
Throughout history, humanity’s intellectual efforts have undergone a gradual refinement and speciation process by which many areas of enquiry have sprung and segregated. This compartmentalization of knowledge has turned out extremely valuable for the development of modern science and technology. However, in excess, this dynamic can derive in the dangers of overspecialization and the loss of the bigger picture.
Academic institutions and the industrial infrastructure are able to impulse scientific endeavours more effectively than in any other previous time in human intellectual history. However, due to the intricacies of the financial ecosystems involved, dynamics that obstruct creativity and discovery may appear: scientometric and editorial bubbles, fast science, inertial orthodoxy and a disdain for the power of ignorance.
The great advances of 20th century science were led by few individuals working on relatively narrow fields of research during a time when single publications could lead to dramatic paradigm shifts. Increasingly, we observe that future scientific and technological breakthroughs are likely to result from large interdisciplinary collaborations. However, this may lead to an overreliance on the mere multidisciplinarity label instead of the intrinsic motivation and methodology of research.