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Cross-disciplinary research: What configurations of fields of science are found in grant proposals today?


Mutz, R; Bornmann, L; Daniel, Hans-Dieter (2015). Cross-disciplinary research: What configurations of fields of science are found in grant proposals today? Research Evaluation, 24(1):30-36.

Abstract

Considering the complexity of the world problems, it seems evident that they do not fit straightforwardly into a disciplinary framework. In this context, the question arises as to whether and how frequently several disciplines cooperate on research projects. Cross-disciplinary cooperation in research might be difficult for two reasons. On one hand, many researchers feel that efforts to achieve methodological rigour, exactness, and control are only possible in the circumscribed area of a discipline. On the other hand, it is claimed that funding organizations, with their rigid disciplinary classification systems, impede cross-disciplinary research in the context of their selection and evaluation procedures. For a total of N = 8,496 grant proposals submitted to the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) from 1999 to 2009, detailed codings of the subdisciplines involved were available for the statistical analysis. Latent class analysis produced 12 latent classes or configurations of fields of science. Mono-disciplinary projects are very well represented in physics/astronomy/mechanics, geosciences, and clinical medicine. Cross-disciplinarity is found particularly in research project proposals of fields of science with clearly overlapping content (e.g. preclinical and clinical medicine) and mainly in research proposals submitted by fields of science within the humanities and social sciences

Abstract

Considering the complexity of the world problems, it seems evident that they do not fit straightforwardly into a disciplinary framework. In this context, the question arises as to whether and how frequently several disciplines cooperate on research projects. Cross-disciplinary cooperation in research might be difficult for two reasons. On one hand, many researchers feel that efforts to achieve methodological rigour, exactness, and control are only possible in the circumscribed area of a discipline. On the other hand, it is claimed that funding organizations, with their rigid disciplinary classification systems, impede cross-disciplinary research in the context of their selection and evaluation procedures. For a total of N = 8,496 grant proposals submitted to the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) from 1999 to 2009, detailed codings of the subdisciplines involved were available for the statistical analysis. Latent class analysis produced 12 latent classes or configurations of fields of science. Mono-disciplinary projects are very well represented in physics/astronomy/mechanics, geosciences, and clinical medicine. Cross-disciplinarity is found particularly in research project proposals of fields of science with clearly overlapping content (e.g. preclinical and clinical medicine) and mainly in research proposals submitted by fields of science within the humanities and social sciences

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Social Sciences & Humanities > Library and Information Sciences
Language:English
Date:1 January 2015
Deposited On:30 Oct 2018 15:52
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:49
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0958-2029
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvu023

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