At universities and funding agencies...tenure and grant committees take decisions based on narrow criteria (focusing on publication lists, citations and impact factors) or on specific plans for near-term results, all of which inherently favour those working in established fields with well-accepted paradigms.
Mark Buchanan considers the prospects for encouraging greater scientific innovation in the April issue of Physics World. He suggests that scientific discoveries satisfy a power law distribution, that "the largest events are hugely disproportionate in their consequences. In the metaphor of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s 2007 best seller The Black Swan, it is not the normal events, the mundane and expected 'white swans' that matter the most, but the outliers, the completely unexpected 'black swans'."
Physicist Eric Weinstein proposes that scientific innovation could be encouraged by the creation of a financial options market in scientific ideas: "Weinstein’s point is that markets, in theory at least, work efficiently and — putting the current financial meltdown to one side — lead to the accurate valuation of products. They exploit the 'wisdom of crowds', as a popular book of the same title recently put it."
Yes, putting the current financial meltdown to one side. Apart from that.