Interdisciplinarity and collaboration: on the relationship between disciplinary diversity in departmental affiliations and reference lists
- 385 Downloads
This study explores the characteristics of scientific activity patterns through co-author affiliations to obtain new insights into interdisciplinary research. To classify the interdisciplinarity in research, we explored and compared two different approaches: the diversity of disciplines reflected in the listed affiliations of the authors and the diversity of the subject categories reflected in the reference list. To assess the diversity in departmental affiliations, we developed an explorative methodology that retrieves feature words from a combination of manual work and the thesaurus function in the Thomson Data Analyzer text mining tool. To assess the diversity in references, we followed the conventional approach applied in previous work. With both approaches, we relied on diversity as the measure for assessing interdisciplinarity of 157,710 articles published in PloS One (2007–2016). Based on a comparison between the results of both approaches, our study confirms that different methodologies and indicators can produce seriously inconsistent, and even contradictory results. In addition, different indicators may capture different understandings of such a multi-faceted concept as interdisciplinarity. Our results are summarized in a schematic representation of this twofold perspective as a method of indexing the different types of interdisciplinarity commonly found in research studies.
KeywordsCollaborations Affiliations Reference analysis Diversity Interdisciplinarity Interdisciplinary research PloS One
The present study is an extended version of an article presented at the 16th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Wuhan (China), 16–20 October 2017 (Zhang et al. 2017). The authors would like to acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71573085), the Innovation Talents of Science and Technology in HeNan Province (Grant Nos. 16HASTIT038, 2015GGJS-108), and the Excellent Scholarship in Social Science in HeNan Province (No. 2018-YXXZ-10). We thank Giovanni Abramo and Ronald Rousseau for inspiring discussions.
- Abramo, G., D’Angelo, C. A., & Costa, F. D. (2012). Identifying interdisciplinarity through the disciplinary classification of coauthors of scientific publications. Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 63(11), 2206–2222.Google Scholar
- Abramo, G., D’Angelo, C. A., & Zhang, L. (2018). A comparison of two approaches for measuring interdisciplinary research output: The disciplinary diversity of authors vs the disciplinary diversity of the reference list. Journal of Informetrics. (under review).Google Scholar
- Adams, J., Loach, T., & Szomszor, M. (2016). Interdisciplinary research: Methodologies for identification and assessment. Digital Research Reports. London: Digital Science.Google Scholar
- Choi, B. C., & Pak, A. W. (2006). Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness. Clinical and Investigative Medicine. Medecine Clinique et Experimentale, 29(6), 351–364.Google Scholar
- Dogan, M., & Pahre, R. (1990). Creative marginality: Innovation at the intersections of social sciences. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2012). Enhancing and focusing EU international cooperation in research and innovation: A strategic approach. Brussels, COM (2012) 497 final. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/policy/com_2012_497_communication_from_commission_to_inst_en.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none.
- Garfield, E., Malin, M., & Small, H. (1978). Citation data as science indicators. In Y. Elkana, J. Lederberg, R. K. Merton, A. Thackray, & H. Zuckerman (Eds.), Toward a metric of science: The advent of science indicators (pp. 179–208). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Larivière, V., & Gingras, Y. (2010). On the relationship between interdisciplinarity and scientific impact. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 61(1), 126–131.Google Scholar
- Maas, F., Spoorenberg, A., Brouwer, E., Bos, R., Efde, M., Chaudhry, R. N., et al. (2015). Spinal radiographic progression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis treated with TNF-alpha blocking therapy: A prospective longitudinal observational cohort study. PLoS ONE, 10(4), e0122693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Academies Committee on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. (2004). Facilitating interdisciplinary research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- National Science Foundation. (2004). Retrieved April 26, 2018, from https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/additional_resources/interdisciplinary_research/definition.jsp.
- Nijssen, D., Rousseau, R., & Hecke, P. V. (1998). The Lorenz curve: A graphical representation of evenness. Coenoses, 13(1), 33–38.Google Scholar
- Rousseau, R., Zhang, L., & Hu, X. J. (2018). Knowledge Integration: Its meaning and measurement. In W. Glänzel, H. Moed, U. Schmoch, & M. Thelwall (Eds.), Springer handbook of science and technology indicators. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Wang, J., & Shapira, P. (2015). Is there a relationship between research sponsorship and publication impact? An analysis of funding acknowledgments in nanotechnology papers. PLoS ONE, 10(2), 555–582.Google Scholar
- Zhang, L., Sun, B., & Huang, Y. (2018). Interdisciplinarity measurement based on interdisciplinary collaborations: A case study on highly cited researchers of ESI social sciences. Journal of the China Society for Scientific and Technical Information, in Chinese, 37(3), 231–242.Google Scholar
- Zhang, L., Sun, B., Huang, Y., & Chen, L. X. (2017). Interdisciplinarity and collaboration: On the relationship between disciplinary diversity in the references and in the departmental affiliations. In Proceedings of ISSI 2017—The 16th international conference on scientometrics and informetrics (pp. 1064–1075). Wuhan University, China.Google Scholar