The current system of producing knowledge in academia, think-tanks, research laboratories funded by large organizations, and similar has the benefits that there is usually some oversight, the people involved have been trained on how to conduct and contribute to research, and how to communicate their results to the literate portion of the society they are supposed to aid. (The above is subject to debate, but I prefer to assume it for the purpose of the question below.)
How can a person with no contacts to any of these contribute, or learn how to contribute, to the production of research, in spite of lack of oversight, funding, and training? As examples, a person who finds an alternate and faster method of DNA replication, or finds influences of Jane Austen among current bloggers that suggest a certain societal trend, or has a new way of analyzing large portions of astronomical data, or finds a way of speeding up numerical simulations of models of biological systems involving capillary blood flow. How does such a person present such an idea or method?
One can write to authors on the appropriate area; how likely is this to succeed? One could look at an appropriate journal, attempt to copy the style, formatting, and phraseology of the articles and then submit their write-up to that journal, but without affiliation; with what result? One might attempt to use the Internet to strike up conversations with like-minded individuals and find a willing ear and eye; are there enough willing ears and eyes? One could start a blog or just put up a web page announcing the work; I have done that, but I have too many connections to be considered a complete outsider to academia, and I want to pose the question for those who are so outside. Further, how could someone searching an index find that page among many that are computer generated using similar phrases?
There are several spins one can put on this. Let us further assume that the primary goal is to present the idea/form of knowledge, and receive little or no more than the recognition of making the contribution and the satisfaction of seeing it used. In particular, potential degrees, awards, or jobs are not part of the scenario or motivation. In this day and age, would blogging be enough? Also, for fun and to make answers less trivial, assume the outsider is not and is not likely to enroll in a university.
Added: To address a comment, enrolling in a university would likely provide many of the desired contacts, but with some cost. The outsider may have had a university education, but this question makes the assumption that contacts there are stale or otherwise not accessible or appropriate, making this person more of an outsider.