Knowledge Flows in Interdisciplinary Research

Interdisciplinary research is seen as a promising avenue towards new scientific insights. It is therefore heavily advocated for by research institutions and academic funding organizations alike. However, in order to craft policies that effectively promote interdisciplinary research we need to know more about the knowledge flows that happen in academia. The proposed research project aims to study exactly that: knowledge flows in interdisciplinary academic research.

Imagine a research project between a medical researcher and a researcher from computer science. We know that such a collaboration can potentially yield impactful findings. However, we do not know where such a collaboration publishes their outputs. Is it a 50/50 split, is it primarily in computer science, or is it primarily in medical outlets? If one of the latter two cases is true different motivational policies are needed for each of the participating disciplines. And it is very likely, that interdisciplinary collaborations publish heavily towards one of the involved disciplines. In a pilot study at the University of Wuerzburg Sascha Friesike found that collaborations between chemists and biologists are very common but results are almost always published in chemistry journals.

In our proposed study, we want to investigate interdisciplinary research projects on a large scale and figure out in which direction knowledge flows.

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