A T-shaped Measure of Multidisciplinarity in Academic Research Networks: The GRAND Case Study

  • David Turner
  • Diego Serrano
  • Eleni StrouliaEmail author
  • Kelly Lyons
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


Service-science research has long been studying T-shapedness, arguing that service scientists should be T-shaped individuals, deeply knowledgeable in one field and able to collaborate and communicate across disciplines. The value of multidisciplinarity has also been recognized in academic environments, as funding agencies are committing substantial support to large-scale research initiatives that span across disciplines, organizations, academia and industry, even across national borders, and aim to address the major challenges of our time, from climate change, to energy shortage, to pandemics. New incentives and performance indicators are needed to encourage and reward multidisciplinary collaborative work. In this paper, we introduce a metric for multidisciplinarity, based on the notion of T-shapedness and we report on the application of this measure on data collected over four years from the GRAND Network of Centres of Excellence, a large-scale, Canadian, multidisciplinary research network conducting research on digital media with numerous academic and industrial partners. We describe our findings on how the community evolved over time in terms of its T-shaped multidisciplinarity and compare the multidisciplinarity of GRAND researchers to their non-GRAND peers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Turner
    • 1
  • Diego Serrano
    • 1
  • Eleni Stroulia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kelly Lyons
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of InformationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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