Facilitating social and natural science cross-disciplinarity: Assessing the human and social dynamics program

Research that integrates the social and natural sciences is vital to address many societal challenges, yet is difficult to arrange, conduct, and disseminate. This article analyses the cross-disciplinary character of the research supported by a unique US National Science Foundation program on Human and Social Dynamics (HSD). It presents evidence that research publications deriving from this support chiefly pertain to the Social and Behavioral Sciences, but extend widely into the Bio and Medical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Integration scores, based on the diversity of references cited, indicate that the HSD-derived publications are notably more interdisciplinary than those of comparable programs. Diffusion scores, together with science overlay maps, show that uptake of the HSD publications extends into the natural, as well as social, sciences. Research networking analyses, together with a new composite mapping approach, point toward successful catalysis of a new research community. The measures and maps of cross-disciplinary research activity that are advanced here may prove useful in other research assessments.

Author(s): Jon Garner, Alan L. Porter, Maura Borrego, Elizabeth Tran, Rita Teutonico
Organization(s): Search Technology, Inc., Georgia Institute of Technology, National Science Foundation, Utah State University
Source: Research Evaluation
Year: 2013

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