Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University

Research Projects

Creative Interdisciplinary Collaboration Program 2020

Assist. Prof.  Kohei Tamura

Title A Bibliometric Approach to the Social Impact of Interdisciplinary Studies
Priod 2020-2021

An important social role of universities, particularly by engaging in basic research, is to contribute to the accumulation of diverse knowledge, leading to an increase in the diversity and sustainability of society. This role is particularly emphasized for interdisciplinary research because it can provide novel opportunities and perspectives by merging knowledges independently developed.

While such a view on interdisciplinary research has been widely accepted by researchers, empirical data supporting for this view are limited. In addition, despite the frequent claims about the benefits of interdisciplinary research for the individual-level short-term output such as publication in a high-ranked journal and increased citation rates, the long-term social impacts of interdisciplinary research have been rarely stated. This could cause a gap between universities and our society in terms of roles of universities and research.

The aim of the present study is to investigate both of academic and social impacts of interdisciplinary research based on quantitative and qualitative methods. More specifically, we will carry out a questionnaire survey on interdisciplinary papers to assistant professors at the FRIS. Further, we will measure the impacts of the papers using quantitative indicators and qualitative surveys, such as interviews. By doing so, we will attempt to (1) formalize the "potential" of interdisciplinary research and (2) establish a channel to communicate with society.

We will also have opportunities for public discussion by holding workshops in addition to academic papers and books. The purpose of the workshop will also include the consideration of how the social role of interdisciplinary research can be effectively disseminated to society through the communication channel.