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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Séverine Louvel

This paper analyses French and US universities’ organizational responses to the more or less explicit pressures they face to go interdisciplinary. Defining universities as…

Abstract

This paper analyses French and US universities’ organizational responses to the more or less explicit pressures they face to go interdisciplinary. Defining universities as pluralistic organizations, I show that the implementation of interdisciplinary research does not result in well-integrated institutional strategies, but rather combines initiatives from the scientific community and from university leaders. Based on case studies conducted on the development of interdisciplinary nanomedicine in five leading French and US research universities, I identify three settings where the implementation of interdisciplinarity involves shifts in organizational structure – in principal investigator-based research teams and scientific networks, in departmental boundaries, and in institutional structures, and question issues of governance, leadership and resource allocation arising from those shifts. We see similarities between the two countries in terms of how initiatives by “entrepreneurial academics” – searching for funds for interdisciplinary research – and by the university leadership – also searching for funds, and redefining institutional projects around interdisciplinarity – complement each other. We also identify one major difference – with French pro-interdisciplinary university policies being strongly influenced by a political impetus from the French ministry of higher education and research.

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Jiang Wu, Jingxuan Cai, Miao Jin and Ke Dong

Although interdisciplinary research is an increasing trend in scientific funding projects, they are suffering from a lower probability of being funded. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Although interdisciplinary research is an increasing trend in scientific funding projects, they are suffering from a lower probability of being funded. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the current situation on successful case of funding application and provides suggestions on how libraries can expand services to help scientific funding application.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilizes the co-occurrences of disciplinary application codes to construct an interdisciplinary knowledge flow network. Based on 193517 sponsored projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the authors study the interdisciplinary flow of knowledge and investigate the evolution of network structure using social network analysis.

Findings

Results show that the interdisciplinary knowledge flow network is not only a small-world network but also a scale-free network. Two main knowledge flow paths across scientific departments exist, showing the heterogeneity of knowledge distributions across scientific disciplines. The authors also find that if two disciplines in the same scientific department both have a wide influence to other disciplines, they are more prone to link together and create a knowledge chain.

Originality/value

Funding consultation currently has not occupied an advisory role either in library services or in the research team. This paper conducts a co-occurrences network analysis of interdisciplinary knowledge flow in scientific funding projects. Considering the complexity of funding application and the advantage of traditional library services on information collection, integration, and utilization, the authors conclude the possibility and necessity of embedding funding consultation in traditional library services.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2020

KerryAnn O’Meara and Dawn Culpepper

Using the lens of social physics, this study aims to examine how, if at all, one graduate training program fostered collisions or meaningful interactions, between students…

Abstract

Purpose

Using the lens of social physics, this study aims to examine how, if at all, one graduate training program fostered collisions or meaningful interactions, between students and faculty from different disciplinary backgrounds.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative, ethnographic case study methods.

Findings

The University of Maryland’s National Research Traineeship program fostered collisions between students and faculty from different disciplinary backgrounds by facilitating exploration, idea flow and engagement within an interdisciplinary scholarly community. These collisions generated productive opportunities for student learning, development and collaborations, but at times also produced non-generative outcomes.

Practical implications

This study names specific, strategic activities (e.g. regular research talks, physical space) that graduate programs can use to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations among students and faculty and considers the extent to which such activities contribute to organizational change.

Originality/value

This paper applies new theories (collisions and social physics) to understanding interdisciplinary collaboration and identifies aspects of graduate training programs that may be replicable in other institutional settings.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2013

Mehri Sedighi

The purpose of this research is to investigate the interdisciplinary relations in some high‐priority fields of science and technology based on ISI data.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate the interdisciplinary relations in some high‐priority fields of science and technology based on ISI data.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an applied study using scientometric, citation analysis and network analysis methods. The study population consists of scientific articles of Iranian researchers in five fields that have been indexed in “WOS” database. These fields are included nanotechnology, biophysics, nuclear physics, sociology and communication. After identifying and extracting data from “WOS” (included 1,777 records), in order to determine the interdisciplinary relations and the evolution of these relationships, the citations of these records (41,080 citations) have been extracted and analysed.

Findings

The results indicate all the studied scientific fields have self‐citation and other‐citation. Depending on the type of field, the rate of intra‐disciplinary and extra‐disciplinary citations is various. There is a positive correlation between co‐authorship and interdisciplinary approach in all the studied fields. There is no significant relation between the number of citations and interdisciplinary approach. Overall, the results showed the use of only a bibliographic method cannot specify all aspects of interdisciplinarity of the scientific field. Simultaneous use of different analysis methods such as citation analysis, co‐authorship analysis and bibliographic coupling is necessary in order to data exchange between fields.

Originality/value

The analysis and mapping of interdisciplinary relations in a scientific field can provide useful information regarding connectivity and interdependence among areas. Through such studies, the status of cooperation between disciplines and the evolutionary trend of it is well defined. The results of these studies would also be useful in developing the interdisciplinary collaboration among professionals and understanding their information needs and plan to meet these needs.

Details

Library Review, vol. 62 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Jeffrey A. Knapp

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the obstacles to interdisciplinary research and examine some ways that academic librarians can help to overcome them.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the obstacles to interdisciplinary research and examine some ways that academic librarians can help to overcome them.

Design/methodology/approach

A broad review of the literature of the social sciences was reviewed for descriptions of difficulties that interdisciplinary researchers encounter. General developments in librarianship from library literature were then applied as a starting point for discussing ways that librarians can provide important services to interdisciplinary scholars.

Findings

Librarians, as “meta‐scholars”, can provide useful services to scholars engaging in interdisciplinary research.

Social implications

Interdisciplinary research has shown great potential for problem‐solving, being focused more on a problem than with disciplinary distinctions. This is a worthy area for librarians to target with their skills and services.

Originality/value

This is a discussion of ways that librarians can break into new roles and responsibilities, and simultaneously strengthen their profile at a time when some expect librarianship to fade away.

Details

Library Review, vol. 61 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2020

Cecília Galvão, Cláudia Faria, Wanda Viegas, Amélia Branco and Luís Goulão

This paper aims to understand if a project work methodology proposed to students, based on an inquiry perspective and dealing with different dimensions of sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand if a project work methodology proposed to students, based on an inquiry perspective and dealing with different dimensions of sustainable development, contributed to creating an interdisciplinary solution for a problem on sustainability challenged by food production and consumption, and also to understand if this methodological approach is perceived as important to their learning as professionals and citizens. Data were collected by direct observation, a questionnaire applied to the students and students’ individual reflections.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper aims to present the research results of the impact of a pedagogical approach on students, implemented as a part of the Doctoral Programme in Sustainability Science, which was designed following an innovative model at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. The main drivers include building a new body of interdisciplinary knowledge leading to the application of science to address real problems towards transdisciplinary education.

Findings

The results suggest great potential for an inquiry perspective in trying to solve a real problem. Students’ proposals were realistic, viable and complementary enough to collectively contribute in response to the global problem. The use of approaches acquired from different areas of knowledge was clear, and the project methodology was well understood. Students considered the experience very rewarding in terms of learning and contributing positively to their personal and professional development.

Originality/value

This Doctoral programme is anchored in a progressive continuum encompassing holistic debates with a multidisciplinary team of professors in environments that promote interdisciplinary attitudes and new knowledge, and also project work aimed at guiding students to transdisciplinary learning, which constitutes an innovative form of dealing with the complex challenges created by the science of sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Ross Gordon, Gordon Waitt and Paul Cooper

This paper aims to contribute to contemporary debates about interdisciplinarity and social marketing by presenting the critical reflections of a social marketer, a human…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to contemporary debates about interdisciplinarity and social marketing by presenting the critical reflections of a social marketer, a human geographer and an engineer on working across disciplines in an Australian community energy efficiency intervention – Energy + Illawarra. The paper also aims to identify challenges, practicalities and learning that emerge from collaborating on interdisciplinary projects. It also aims to provide some suggestions and guidelines for researchers in the interdisciplinary space.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a case study approach and presents the critical reflections of a social marketer, a human geographer and an engineer on working together on the Energy + Illawarra project – a community energy efficiency social marketing intervention.

Findings

Challenges in interdisciplinary projects that are presented by differences in ontology, methodology, language and discourse are identified. The importance of being critically reflexive and openness to alternative perspectives are examined. Concerns over publishing interdisciplinary research are considered. The value of experimenting and developing partnerships through pilot projects is discussed. The potential of leveraging existing synergies and the opportunity to learn from clashes in ontology are also highlighted.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the discussion about being interdisciplinary in social marketing by identifying subjectivities, practicalities and opportunities from collaborating on cross-disciplinary projects. Guidance for researchers on working on interdisciplinary projects offers value for social marketers working in this area.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Can Baran Aktas

The purpose of the article was to convey experiences with pioneering interdisciplinary sustainability research by involving undergraduate students. Experiences with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article was to convey experiences with pioneering interdisciplinary sustainability research by involving undergraduate students. Experiences with initiating and conducting multiple research projects spanning engineering and sustainability are described, and recommendations for programs and faculty in other institutions of higher education that plan to implement or support similar endeavors are discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The article and presented conclusions are based on three separate research projects, where specific examples as to how those projects were developed as well as challenges and rewards faced during the project are described.

Findings

It is concluded that faculty should not refrain from working with students from different backgrounds and disciplines. Bringing different backgrounds and perspectives to a project enables a big picture view of problems at hand and leads to better solutions that are more in line with the three pillars of sustainability, while at the same time providing valuable hands-on experience to undergraduate students.

Originality/value

By its very definition, sustainability is an interdisciplinary field and, thus, requires novel approaches for education and research compared to other settled fields of science. A viable way to increase the role of sustainability in higher education is to foster interdisciplinary research and teaching. The institutions role in promoting such efforts has been discussed together with example strategies that were found to be successful as well as those that were not. The article presents results of potential successes in projects where the traditional disciplinary bounds have been breached, and an interdisciplinary approach has been used to achieve project goals. The article also gives examples on what types of sustainability research can be conducted with undergraduate students.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2010

Philip MacKinnon, William D. Rifkin, Damian Hine and Ross Barnard

Success in research – or ‘mastery’ as we call it – can lead to interdisciplinarity arising among the increasingly fragmented disciplines of science: researchers in…

Abstract

Success in research – or ‘mastery’ as we call it – can lead to interdisciplinarity arising among the increasingly fragmented disciplines of science: researchers in molecular biology can be assisted by advances in the physics of atomic imaging, when they become aware of a development's potential and feel motivated to take advantage of it. The unpredictability of advances in scientific research makes the location and nature of interdisciplinarity largely unpredictable. This unpredictability means that organisational structures in which scientific research takes place – and in which our students are trained – are likely to lag behind interdisciplinary synergies developing in the laboratory. The lag time suggested by our model explains the challenges faced by leaders of interdisciplinary programmes in higher education. One can conclude that opportunities for interdisciplinarity in science are held back by discipline-bound institutions.

Details

Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-371-3

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2014

Fredrick Kiwuwa Lugya

The convergence of librarianship and information science to form library and information science (LIS) is seen as a recent phenomenon, with the term “information science”…

Abstract

Purpose

The convergence of librarianship and information science to form library and information science (LIS) is seen as a recent phenomenon, with the term “information science” originally focused on the application of computers to library operations and services. LIS as a science and multidisciplinary field applies the practice and perspective of information with the aim of answering important questions related to the activities of a target group. As a science, LIS is more than a collection of facts to be memorised or techniques to be mastered but is instead an inquiry carried out by people who raise questions for which answers are unknown and who have gained confidence in their ability to reach conclusions, albeit tentative ones, through research, experiment and careful thought sharpened by the open criticism of others. What is described here is a dynamic and changing field of study called LIS which differs from Cronin ' s (2004) conclusion that library science or LIS is neither a science nor a discipline. Like any other science, LIS continues to emerge, evolve, transform and dissipate in the ongoing conversation of disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach

To understand LIS, this paper thoroughly reviewed the literature by paying attention to the genesis of the terms “information”, “documentation”, “science” and “librarianship”, and then the interdisciplinary nature of library science and information science.

Findings

The differences between librarianship and information science are an indication that there are two different fields in a strong interdisciplinary relation, rather than one being a special case of the other. LIS has grown to be a scientific discipline, knowledge and a process that allows abandoning or modifying previously accepted conclusions when confronted with more complete or reliable experimental or observational evidence. Therefore, like any other science, LIS is a science and discipline in its own right that continues to emerge, evolve, transform and dissipate in the ongoing conversation of disciplines.

Originality/value

What is described here is a dynamic and changing field of study and a science called LIS that differs from Cronin ' s (2004) assessment that library science or LIS is neither a science nor a discipline. The originality of the paper is rooted in a growing discussion to understand the relevance and appreciate the continued existence of LIS as a science and a field of study.

Details

Library Review, vol. 63 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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