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J Informetr. 2014 Jan;8(1):59-70.

Understanding the assembly of interdisciplinary teams and its impact on performance.

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Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.


Interdisciplinary teams are assembled in scientific research and are aimed at solving complex problems. Given their increasing importance, it is not surprising that considerable attention has been focused on processes of collaboration in interdisciplinary teams. Despite such efforts, we know less about the factors affecting the assembly of such teams in the first place. In this paper, we investigate the structure and the success of interdisciplinary scientific research teams. We examine the assembly factors using a sample of 1,103 grant proposals submitted to two National Science Foundation interdisciplinary initiatives during a 3-year period, including both awarded and non-awarded proposals. The results indicate that individuals' likelihood of collaboration on a proposal is higher among those with longer tenure, lower institutional tier, lower H-index, and with higher levels of prior co-authorship and citation relationships. However, successful proposals have a little bit different relational patterns: individuals' likelihood of collaboration is higher among those with lower institutional tier, lower H-index, (female) gender, higher levels of prior co-authorship, but with lower levels of prior citation relationships.


Citation network; Co-authorship network; Grant decision-making; Interdisciplinary collaboration; Project funding; Scientific collaboration; Social network analysis; Team assembly

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