Orientations and outcome of interdisciplinary research: the case of research behaviour in translational medical science

Finn Valentin, Maria Theresa Norn, Lars Alkærsig

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    Abstract

    The importance of interdisciplinary research in accelerating the progress and commercialization of science is widely recognized, yet little is known about how academic research self-organizes towards interdisciplinarity. In this paper, we therefore explore the micro-level behavior of researchers as they venture into a promising space for interdisciplinary research, namely translational research—a bridge between basic and applied biomedical research. More specifically, we ask (1) whether the researchers who choose to engage in translational research have a strong scientific record, (2) how interdisciplinary research spanning basic and applied research influences the output of academic research, and (3) how different disciplinary distance in interdisciplinary research contributes to reputational benefits of researchers. We find that for some types of collaboration, interdisciplinarity results in more highly cited research, while in others it is not, and look for explanations for this difference. Our results show that translational research draws higher citations when it involves university researchers from the most basic end of the disciplinary spectrum, and when its issues are directed at basic (rather than applied) research.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScientometrics
    Volume106
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)67-90
    Number of pages24
    ISSN0138-9130
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Keywords

    • Interdisciplinary research
    • Cognitive distance
    • Basic and applied science
    • Cost of learning
    • Translational research

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