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Why do Academic Scientists Engage in Interdisciplinary Research ?

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  • Nicolas CARAYOL
  • Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI

Abstract

This article provides a first empirical study of the determinants of the propensity to which academic scholars tend to perform interdisciplinarity research. For that purpose we introduce a measure of interdisciplinarity as the diversity of their research production across scientific domains. Our dataset concerns more than nine hundred permanent researchers employed by a large French university which is ranked first among French universities in terms of Impact. As expected we find that the traditional academic career incentives do not stimulate interdisciplinary research while having connections with industry does. The context of work in the laboratory (size, colleagues’ status, age and affiliations) strongly affects the propensity to undertake interdisciplinary research.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas CARAYOL & Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI, 2004. "Why do Academic Scientists Engage in Interdisciplinary Research ?," Working Papers of BETA 2004-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2004-17
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    Keywords

    Economics of science; Academic incentives; Interdisciplinary research; Laboratory; University.;

    JEL classification:

    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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