Distinguishing collaboration from contribution in environmental research
In this paper, we distinguish contributory from collaborative approaches to interdisciplinary environmental research. A characteristic feature of the collaborative approach is that emphasis is placed on the process of collaborative problem formulation. Rather than responding to a pre-described problem by supplementing disciplinary perspectives and methodologies as needed, a collaborative research process entails attending to the characterization of the problem itself as a necessary object of interdisciplinary research. We suggest that clearly distinguishing collaborative from contributory models of interdisciplinary environmental research, and explicitly practicing collaborative research, will help foster a culture of robust interdisciplinary engagement well suited to addressing many of today’s complex environmental problems.