Programmers talk about technical debt: there are ways to write software that are faster in the short run but problematic in the long run. Managers talk about institutional debt: institutions can grow quickly at the cost of bad practices creeping in. Both are easy to accumulate but hard to get rid of. Research can also have debt.
The insidious thing about research debt is that it’s normal. Everyone takes it for granted, and doesn’t realize that things could be different.
Source: Research Debt