I run 3 beams and a quantum mine on my science ship, they seem to have a splash effect that will wrap around slightly and do nice damage if they hit or hit near a dead/nearly dead shield face. Certain NPC's also spend a lot of time shooting mines instead of my ship . At one point during beta I had 2 beams and two quantum mines, both setups have been nice .
I see many people loading up "forward DPS" set ups. Constantly trying to face the target and unleash hell.
Though myself, I like running a single torpedo (front) with the rest of the slots taken up by 250deg beam arrays, employing "broadside" tactics (my ship is always sideways to my target, going on a very, very wide circle (10 km, If I can pull it off), blasting whatever shield they choose to show me with a concentrated strike of multiple beams (both forward and back due to wide arc). A little twich, and torpedo is in line to fire. Fire the torpedo, and with a tiny twist I'm back in "broadside" mode.
That, plus Science vessel for more science debuffs and I'm golden.
I've used this in PvP against the "point yourself at the target, rush in and spam spam spam" type frontloaders to a great effect. I'm equally effective while showing left shield or the right shield (one gets weak and I simply swap)...The front loaders are only at their best when facing forward <shrug>
I am also a part of a small "premade" heavy on Escorts (two escorts, one cruiser and me-science)....My primary role in this case is that of...pretty much shield-chewing artilery.
I'm not half escort-half cruiser...nor do I want to be.
I'm still in a tier II (LC8 currently). I can solo all LC mission thus far without much of a problem. I double up on tractor beam (two science BOs equip it). I hit come in at 10K out hit them with volleys and tachyon then nail them with high yield. Back to back tractor beam them still to one side for more than 20 second as I whittle away the shield and do massive hull damage. I spin away with evasive and come around to the back corner of the ship and finish them off with volleys and high yield.
I just hit T5 science ship and they are great for PvE all the way and hard to kill on PvP. We can lock down targets for a long time. Our dmg is lower cause we don't have many space offensive science ability mostly debuff or buff but is not like very far off from cruisers.
At T5 we get a recon and deep space science ship
Recon is more combat with one more tactical officer
Deep space is more engineer with one extra