When a global scientific community for traditional, complementary and integrative medicine emerged 20-years ago, it declared for the importance of what it called “whole systems research” (WSR). Such exploration was declared as core mission of an organization, ISCMR, formed to network the community. It was formed in contra-distinction to reductive, single agent trials that were then a relatively unchallenged “gold standard” for research. Researchers associated with chiropractic, naturopathy, acupuncture and other licensed integrative practice fields prioritized such research in a 2009-2011 campaign to influence the priorities at what is now the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Academic integrative medical doctor researchers called for it. Yet now a special issue of an integrative health journal – available entirely in open access to the public – is questioning whether steam is left in that thrust – and whether, ironically, such interest is dissipating at a moment of potentially broader embrace.