A year and half back my friend got into a university for part-time research work in physics leading to Ph. D. I had the idea that those who do research in basic sciences generally strive to discover something new break-through technologies or processes. But to my surprise, I found that all she was doing was searching on the net for some already published papers on the same area and making some incremental modifications or adding just a bit of thought/point-of-view and coming out with a new paper of her own! I was very critical of her and even lambasted her for what she was doing.
Now in the second year of MBA, I am doing the same thing for my Term Paper (which is sort of a research paper) on a topic in the field of Economics. Even most of the regular Fellow Students here do the same – literature review, coming-out with some minor modifications and just writing the paper, more than 50% of which contains contents from already published papers. In other words, most of the research scholars hardly come up with any radical ideas. It seems only those in the World Bank, IMF and the equivalent institutes do something noteworthy.
Well, this might not be the right approach, but given the other constraints I realized that this is the prevalent practice in India and will continue.