Lately I've become annoyed with research, business reports, etc. that report findings without showing why they might matter, or what should be done next. Things like this: "The participants biological fathers’ chest hair had no significant effect on their preference for men with chest hair." [From Archives of Sexual Behavior, via Annals of Improbable Research.]
Does it pass the "so what" test? Not many of us write about chest hair. But we all need to keep our eyes on the prize when drawing conclusions about evidence. It's refreshing to see specific actions, supported by rationale, being recommended alongside research findings. As Exhibit A, I offer the PLOS Medicine article Use of Expert Panels to Define the Reference Standard in Diagnostic Research: A Systematic Review of Published Methods and Reporting (Bertens et al). Besides explaining how panel diagnosis has (or hasn't) worked well in the past, the authors recommend specific steps to take - and provide a checklist and flowchart. I'm not suggesting everyone could or should produce a checklist, flowchart, or cost-benefit analysis in every report, but more concrete Next Steps would be powerful.
So many associations, so little time. We're living in a world where people need to move quickly. We need to be specific when we identify our "areas for future research". What problem can this help solve? Where is the potential value that could be confirmed by additional investigation? And why should we believe that?
Otherwise it's like simply saying "fund us some more, and we'll tell you more". We need to know exactly what should be done next, and why. I know basic research isn't supposed to work that way, but since basic research seems to be on life support, something needs to change. It's great to circulate an insight for discovery by others. But without offering a suggestion of how it can make the world a better place, it's exhausting for the rest of us.