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Publication Detail
Interdisciplinary researchers attain better long-term funding performance
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Sun Y, Livan G, Ma A, Latora V
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  • Journal:
    Communications Physics
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  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Interdisciplinary research is on the rise globally. Yet, several studies have shown that it often achieves lower impact compared to more specialized work, and is less likely to attract funding. Here, we seek to reconcile such evidence by analyzing 44,419 research grants awarded by the research councils in the UK. We find that researchers with an interdisciplinary funding track record dominate the network of academic collaborations, both in terms of centrality and knowledge brokerage, but such a competitive advantage does not translate into immediate return. Our results based on a matched pair analysis show that interdisciplinary researchers achieve lower impact with their publications in the short run; however, they eventually outperform their specialized counterparts in funding performance, both in terms of volume and value. These findings suggest that pursuing an interdisciplinary career may require perseverance to overcome extra challenges, but can pave the way for a more successful endeavor.
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