Next Article in Journal
Mongolia, Modernity, Systems + Solutions: Questing Holistic Design + Planning Strategies for a Brighter Tomorrow
Next Article in Special Issue
Proposing a Process-Oriented Systems Research for Systems Thinking Development
Previous Article in Journal
Research Challenges for the Internet of Things: What Role Can OR Play?
Previous Article in Special Issue
Apithology Systems Inquiry: Evaluation from a Generativist Ontology
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Systems 2017, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/systems5020025

Systems Research and the Quest for Scientific Systems Principles

Centre for Systems Philosophy, Surrey KT15 1EL, UK
Centre for Systems Studies, Business School, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Alister Hardy Research Centre, University of Wales TSD, Lampeter SA48 7ED, UK
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, 1040 Vienna, Austria
Academic Editors: Shankar Sankaran, Pamela Buckle Henning, Timothy Ferris and Mary C. Edson
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Research)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1911 KB, uploaded 24 March 2017]   |  


Systems Research formally originated in the 1950s, but a scientific understanding of systemness is still nascent. This shortcoming produces significant risks for complex systems engineering and practice. Current “systems principles” are qualitative heuristics, and systems science is scientific more in attitude than because of any grounding in systems principles employing clear and quantifiable concepts. In this paper, I propose that a model of how principles and laws are understood across the specialized sciences can, when applied to systems science, open up new ways to discover systems principles. This approach has led to the identification of six new avenues for discovering systems principles. In this paper I explain one of these research avenues (which leverages the maturation profile of the specialized sciences) in detail, and reference active projects to pursue others. The research approach advocated in this paper has the potential to lead to a new perspective on the nature of and relationship between systems science and systems engineering. View Full-Text
Keywords: systems principles; General Systems Theory; GST; GST*; Systems Philosophy; General Systems Worldview; Scientific Realism; system patterns; design virtues systems principles; General Systems Theory; GST; GST*; Systems Philosophy; General Systems Worldview; Scientific Realism; system patterns; design virtues

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Rousseau, D. Systems Research and the Quest for Scientific Systems Principles. Systems 2017, 5, 25.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Systems EISSN 2079-8954 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top