Category: Interdisciplinarity

“Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

Interdisciplinarity is the talk of the town. Funding agencies favour interdisciplinary research proposals, teaching programmes focus on developing interdisciplinary courses, and the publication of interdisciplinary studies has surged over recent decades. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair considers whether interdisciplinarity remains a strategy to surpass the limits of the methodological tools, theories, and views offered by a single discipline or has instead become […]

Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

The “gold standard” of impactful international development research involves equitable north-south partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and co-production with non-academic actors, ideally including local communities. Such participatory and collaborative approaches are intended to have longer-term benefits, strengthening capacity for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Admirable though this may sound, it’s easy to see how it might appear overwhelming to researchers expected to […]

What can interdisciplinary collaborations learn from the science of team science?

Teamwork makes the dream work, and for interdisciplinary collaborations there are many lessons to be learned from the science of team science. Suzi Spitzer shares ten such lessons here: start by assembling participants with a variety of social skills, such as negotiation and social perceptiveness; avoid jargon and make sure shared words have shared meaning; and accept that conflict, while […]

Recognising interdisciplinary expertise: is it time we established the integration and implementation sciences?

Embedding interdisciplinarity into the academic mainstream has proved a constant challenge. Gabriele Bammer asks whether it might help to define the relevant expertise as a new discipline, one that recognises important skills such as the ability to combine knowledge from different disciplines, determine which disciplines and stakeholders have valuable perspectives, examine how elements of problems are interconnected, assess the likely […]

Why we should not ignore interdisciplinarity’s critics

Amidst the push from universities and funding agencies for increased interdisciplinary research, interdisciplinarity has also been the subject of a number of critiques in recent years. Rick Szostak believes many such critiques to be misguided and focused on research that is at best multidisciplinary and at worst produces no useful results; work that should not be taken as representative of […]

Interdisciplinary research may lead to increased visibility but also depresses scholarly productivity

Interdisciplinarity has grown in recent years. But how does interdisciplinary research influence scholarship and scholarly careers? Erin Leahey‘s research has found that while interdisciplinary research has its benefits, such as increased visibility as indicated by citations, it also comes at a cost, as it depresses scholarly productivity. Although peer review of interdisciplinary work is less of a problem than anticipated, […]