Dissertation Information for Jian Qin
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Levels and types of collaboration in interdisciplinary research in the sciences
Abstract: It is common today for scientists to conduct research in collaboration with their colleagues from different institutions and disciplines. This study collected a sample of 846 scientific research papers published in 1992, and tested four hypotheses on the relationship between research collaboration and interdisciplinarity, where collaboration was measured by the number of authors, number of institutional affiliations, number of affiliation disciplines, and type of collaboration; interdisciplinarity was measured by the number of disciplines represented in the journals cited. The results showed that there were significant differences in the degree of interdisciplinarity among different levels of collaboration and among different disciplines, and the levels of collaboration varied among disciplines. A multiple regression analysis found that a statistically significant relationship existed between collaboration and interdisciplinarity on the whole, but the variance accounted for by collaboration variables was too small to be meaningful. After eliminating some extreme cases, the performance of collaboration variables was greatly improved for not only the whole data set but also some of the individual disciplines. This analysis led to the conclusion that collaboration contributed significantly to the degree of interdisciplinarity in some disciplines and not in others. In addition to an analysis of publications, this investigation involved a survey that asked authors about the forms of collaboration, channels of communication, and use of information. The survey provided some qualitative explanation for the bibliometric findings. Results and their implications to information systems and services were discussed from the perspective of scientist-scientist, scientist-information, and information-information interactions.
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