Quality issues in cross-disciplinary research: Towards a two-pronged approach to evaluation

Social Epistemology 23 (2):165 – 176 (2009)
Abstract
In recent decades there has been increasing demand for and considerable efforts to conduct cross-disciplinary research. However, assessment of research quality in such endeavours still is often based on mono-disciplinary criteria and not seldom carried out by reviewers without strong cross-disciplinary experience. The authors suggest a two-pronged approach to cross-disciplinary research evaluation. One part should comprise an individual review of all the disciplines involved based on their mono-disciplinary sets of criteria. The other part should be a separate evaluation of the cross-disciplinary aspects based on the review of “problem formulation”, “integration and scope of the disciplines”, “parts and the whole”, “practical managerial aspects” and “the applied aspects” (when relevant). The pros and cons of implementing this approach in a stepwise manner or simultaneously is discussed. It is suggested that funding agencies develop more fair sets of review procedures for cross-disciplinary research and show willingness to allocate extra funds and time to such forms of research that sometimes are regarded as relatively more “risky” than conventional mono-disciplinary types
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