Mansilla V. Assessing expert interdisciplinary work at the frontier: an empirical exploration. 2006.
How does one ascertain the quality of interdisciplinary work, when criteria from individual disciplines do not suffice? Assessment is one of the most important and least understood aspects of interdisciplinary research. An empirical study of interdisciplinary work in five established research institutions, reveals that experts prioritize peer review, journal prestige, citation patterns, and successful patent filing, as indicators of quality interdisciplinary work, while also viewing these indicators with skepticism. Three epistemic criteria to assess interdisciplinary work are revealed: (1) the degree to which new insights relate to antecedent disciplinary knowledge in multiple disciplines involved, (2) the sensible balance reached in weaving disciplinary perspectives together, and (3) the effectiveness with which the integration of disciplines advances understanding and inquiry. These criteria may inform the task of reviewers and evaluators of interdisciplinary research outcomes by attending to some of the unique epistemic demands that this type of work presents.
Online at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/beech/rev/2006/00000015/00000001/art00003
interdisciplinary work, quality of work
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