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The rise and fall of interdisciplinary research: The case of open source innovation

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  • Raasch, Christina
  • Lee, Viktor
  • Spaeth, Sebastian
  • Herstatt, Cornelius

Abstract

A large, and purportedly increasing, number of research fields in modern science require scholars from more than one discipline to understand their puzzling phenomena. In response, many scholars argue that scientific work needs to become more interdisciplinary, and is indeed becoming so. This paper contributes to our understanding of the evolution of interdisciplinary research in new fields. We explore interdisciplinary co-authorship, co-citation and publication patterns in the recently emergent research field of open source innovation during the first ten years of its existence. Utilizing a database containing 306 core publications and over 10,000 associated reference documents, we find that inquiry shifts from interdisciplinary to multidisciplinary research, and from joint puzzle solving to parallel problem solving, within a very few years after the inception of the field. “High-involvement” forms of interdisciplinary exchange decline faster than “low-involvement” forms. The patterns we find in open source research, we argue, may be quite general. We propose that they are driven by changes in task uncertainty and the ability to modularize research, among other factors. Our findings have important implications for individual scholars, research organizations, and research policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Raasch, Christina & Lee, Viktor & Spaeth, Sebastian & Herstatt, Cornelius, 2013. "The rise and fall of interdisciplinary research: The case of open source innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 1138-1151.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:5:p:1138-1151
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.01.010
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    Cited by:

    1. Tiwari, Rajnish & Kalogerakis, Katharina, 2016. "A bibliometric analysis of academic papers on frugal innovation," Working Papers 93, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management.
    2. repec:bla:ozechr:v:57:y:2017:i:3:p:345-367 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Araújo, Tanya & Fontainha, Elsa, 2017. "The specific shapes of gender imbalance in scientific authorships: A network approach," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 88-102.
    4. van der Have, Robert P. & Rubalcaba, Luis, 2016. "Social innovation research: An emerging area of innovation studies?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1923-1935.
    5. Siedlok, Frank & Hibbert, Paul & Sillince, John, 2015. "From practice to collaborative community in interdisciplinary research contexts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 96-107.
    6. Niccolò Ghio & Massimiliano Guerini & Erik Lehmann & Cristina Rossi-Lamastra, 2015. "The emergence of the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 1-18, January.

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