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Barriers to research collaboration across disciplines: scientific paradigms and institutional practices


  • Philip Lowe
  • Jeremy Phillipson


In a recent paper in this journal it was suggested that the conventional knowledge practices of disciplines are the fundamental obstacle to mutual understanding between academic experts. Such a position, we argue, underplays the institutional relationships that recreate expert and disciplinary divides. To demonstrate our case we discuss how in the UK the evolving relationship between the government and research councils has crucially altered the context for efforts to stimulate interdisciplinary research. Our analysis highlights the scope for changes in institutional structures and practices that would facilitate broader and more encompassing research into complex sustainability problems.

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  • Philip Lowe & Jeremy Phillipson, 2009. "Barriers to research collaboration across disciplines: scientific paradigms and institutional practices," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(5), pages 1171-1184, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:41:y:2009:i:5:p:1171-1184

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    Cited by:

    1. Tibor Y. Stigter & Marta Varanda & Sofia Bento & João Pedro Nunes & Rui Hugman, 2017. "Combined Assessment of Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development as Drivers of Freshwater Availability in the South of Portugal," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 31(2), pages 609-628, January.
    2. Rafols, Ismael & Leydesdorff, Loet & O’Hare, Alice & Nightingale, Paul & Stirling, Andy, 2012. "How journal rankings can suppress interdisciplinary research: A comparison between Innovation Studies and Business & Management," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1262-1282.

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