^I was suggesting something more along the lines of a whole series focusing on civilian explorers. Starfleet's been done, over and over and over again. Let's see what else the Federation has to offer. Too many people out there have the impression that the Federation is a military state because we've almost never seen any aspect of it beyond Starfleet. It's as if your only knowledge of the United States came from M*A*S*H and Baa Baa Black Sheep and JAG.
And it would bring a fresh twist to the space-exploration angle of ST if we could see it from a more civilian perspective, without the same strict regulations, without the same power the crew could draw on to defend themselves, etc. We got a glimpse of this in Enterprise, since Earth Starfleet wasn't a combat organization, but it didn't really take it far enough, since too many of its forms and protocols were much the same as the Starfleet we know.
My reason is this. A civilian science team on a Starfleet ship would allow them to have several story arcs per season with recurring science characters in each arc who can interact with the crew. Then after that mission, the science characters can go off to be replaced by new characters who come aboard for the next mission. Keeping the same characters for longer would limit the kinds of stories you could tell. For example, if you have a bunch of subspace physicists, you can't go off and tell a story about how they're looking at a brand new planet that's just been discovered. it's weird space stuff each week.
And even if you decided to go with the same core scientist characters week after week, you're going to need a ship to get around in. Starfleet is the primary exploration and scientific arm of the Federation, so it makes sense to have a starship.