Does "inform future research" mean "tell/point out clearly the direction of future research"?
An important role of medical journals is to communicate information between stakeholder groups.1,2 These communications may be between researchers about findings that inform future research; results of phase I-II trials in Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) exemplify this purpose. Alternately, communications between practitioners can advise about implementing clinical practices, such as with narrative reviews and case-based manuscripts including JCO's Oncology Grand Rounds, which provide guidance to practitioners.3 Communications from investigators to practitioners and policy makers include results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews. These communications inform decisions about managing individual patients and health care delivery policies. For policy determination, economic evaluations also have an important role. Implicit in conducting an economic analysis is prior demonstration that the intervention is effective. With this knowledge in hand, understanding economic ramifications of adopting an intervention may be very helpful: a central premise is that resources are scarce and decisions about alternatives are associated with an opportunity cost because resources used for one purpose are unavailable for another use. JCO has provided guidance to researchers intending to submit a report of an economic analysis4; high priority is given to analyses that affect decisions about adoption.
See inform (#2). IMO, that's what fits in this case.
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.