An Independent Researcher is a researcher who holds the right to his/ her scientific works and is not affiliated with any organization or institution. He/ She funds their own research and it is, often, the basis of their income as well.
Key characteristics of Independent Researchers:
- Independent researchers do not pursue an unrelated routine job like teaching students that is related to their core research. They are not directly affiliated with any group.
- Independent researchers choose the domain they want to research.
- Independent researchers do not usually spend money on ads or inflating reach. This is known as paid promotion and believes in organic growth. They avoid publish low quality research which is wide-spread today.
Some key Independent Researchers in the last few centuries:
- Nicola Tesla
He is one of the most ignored Researchers of all time. His views and independent research was ahead of his time and he was considered by Einstein as a true genius. He is an inspiration for Elon Musk as well.
- Albert Einstein
He is the most celebrated Researcher of all time and the one who changed the complete understanding of Physics in early 1900s. His early papers on General Relativity were a result of his Independent research during a time when he worked as a clerk.
- Srinivasa Ramanujan
He is considered one of the greatest Natural Mathematician of all time. He conducted independent research in Mathematics during 1911 to 1918 during his time in India when he was looking for the right opportunity and doing a job like Einstein to support himself.
Later, he joined hands with the Greatest Mathematician of the time and conducted full time research together.
Few key professors in Universities are paid to conduct research and is not required to teach students. Such professors can be classified as Independent Researchers but are associated with the University and is required to publish their work through them.
Benefits of going Independent
The core benefits of going Independent are:
- You decide your daily routine and are not bound to schedules
- You have the freedom to publish research papers or patents or avoid them completely to keep your work accessible
- Your sponsors value only your work
- Observation shows Independent researchers produce 250% more useful work
- You will enjoy better work life balance which is important for maintaining long term health.
- You are more accessible in the Research community and is not bound by any NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)
- You decide the people you want to work with and the topics you want to work on.
Challenges of going Independent
The main challenges one face in going Independent are:
- Lack of financial resources and not everyone get a steedy source of income on going Independent (Solution is to establish yourself as a core researcher in the domain first)
- Hard to manage all things other than research (Solution is to get experience of the overall flow first)
Roadmap to go Independent
- Work for an Organization/ Institute for early years
For a couple of years in the beginning, you would like to establish yourself as a core contributor in the field and save financial resources so that you can survive in tough times and fund your own research.
- Make connections and find sponsors
At this point, you should have a strong idea of your domain and should have established a strong presence. Identify organizations and institutions that value your work and would like to sponsor you.
- Go Independent
Once you go Independent, few things that you must do apart from core research are:
- Share your research with interested researchers frequently
- Maintain strong connections with key research Institutions and Organizations
Some Researchers at OpenGenus namely Aditya Chatterjee, Ue Kiao and others are independent researchers.
Related terms in other fields:
- Independent Rappers like Macklemore
- Independent Scientists like Nicola Tesla
- Independent Authors
- Independent Artists
Become Independent and take control of everything. Enjoy.