Motivations for disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration among australian social scientists

17/10/2012 to 20/10/2012
Society for Social Studies of Science (4S/EASST)
Attention is increasingly directed toward better understanding the factors driving collaboration among researchers, particularly collaboration between researches from different disciplinary backgrounds. Previous research suggests that factors such as previous employment in industry, gender and academic rank may be linked to different collaboration strategies among academic researchers. These studies have predominantly focussed on researchers in the natural and physical sciences (Bozeman & Corley 2004; Lee & Bozeman 2005; Bozeman & Gaughan 2011). This study investigates the motivations of researchers to engage in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research collaboration in the social sciences. Drawing on data from a survey of 698 researchers working in Australia, we consider researchers´ different strategies for collaboration. We analyse whether different strategies are linked to higher involvement in either disciplinary or interdisciplinary collaborations. We also analyse whether different collaboration strategies are linked to an orientation toward either basic or applied research. The paper discusses the findings in relation to policy settings in the Australia research context, particularly incentives and support measures for interdisciplinarity in the social sciences. It goes on to consider the utility of the current findings for policy makers, critically highlighting the tendency for policy-driven research to assume that ‘more collaboration’ is a desirable.
Richard Woolley, Mabel Sánchez-Barrioluengo, Tim Turpin