Interdisciplinarity: A Nobel Opportunity

11/01/2018 ∙ by Michael Szell, et al. ∙ 0

Interdisciplinary collaborations now sweep most fields of the natural and life sciences, necessary to tackle the world's most challenging problems. Yet, the scientific enterprise continues to be dominated by old stereotypes: Interdisciplinary science is less likely to receive funding and is discriminated at institutional levels. Ample solutions for funders, institutions and publishers have been suggested, but the most visible form of scientific credit has so far been ignored: How interdisciplinary is our award system? To address this question, we explore interdisciplinarity in the most prestigious award in science, the Nobel Prize. We document a tendency of Nobel Prizes to neglect interdisciplinary discoveries, especially between physics and the life sciences. Given the increased growth of interdisciplinary high-impact research over the last three decades, we have reached the critical point in time where the issue of recognizing outstanding interdisciplinary research has become truly pressing.

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