Scholars and researchers should not be concerned with whether their work makes a contribution to the larger society. It is more important that they pursue their individual interests, however unusual or idiosyncratic those interests may seem.
Should scholars and researchers pursue their individual interests, however special or idiosyncratic those interests may seem, rather than think about whether their work makes a contribution to the larger society. In my perspective, although they should devote to the society, they also have right to fulfill their own preferences.
Admittedly, if scholars and researchers only do studies according to their interests, their studies might be fluffy and meaningless. For instance, historians studying who invented the technology of producing paper perhaps could make little use of their work to the society. Even if they finally find who made the invention after years of industrious work, this achievement could make no contribution to the contemporary society and also have no potential value. Hence, these scholars' effort will be nonmeaningful and the time spent on the study will be wasted. Using these effort and time to do other research such as the study of the development of every realm may be more profitable. Scholars could avoid this situation if they are concerning about social benefit of their work.
However, it is indisputable that when scholars do what they favor, they will be more likely to succeed. Common sense informs us when interested in something, even addicted to it, one could pay more attentin to that thing and have more energy on it. No matter how tired one feels, the work would not be monotonous. Since spending more time and effort on it, one has more opportunity to achieve the success as well as have fun during this process. In contrast, having no interest in a study, only weary work could defeat scholars or researchers so that the study can not reach any result. Thus, scholars and researchers should do what...