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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Quantitative Science Studies (2020) 1 (1): 239–263.
Published: 01 February 2020
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AbstractView article PDF
Measuring interdisciplinarity is a pertinent but challenging issue in quantitative studies of science. There seems to be a consensus in the literature that the concept of interdisciplinarity is multifaceted and ambiguous. Unsurprisingly, various different measures of interdisciplinarity have been proposed. However, few studies have thoroughly examined the validity and relations between these measures. In this study, we present a systematic review of these interdisciplinarity measures and explore their inherent relations. We examine these measures in relation to the Web of Science journal subject categories. Our results corroborate recent claims that the current measurements of interdisciplinarity in science studies are both confusing and unsatisfying. We find surprisingly deviant results when comparing measures that supposedly should capture similar features or dimensions of the concept of interdisciplinarity. We therefore argue that the current measurements of interdisciplinarity should be interpreted with much caution in science and evaluation studies, or in relation to science policies. We also question the validity of current measures and argue that we do not need more of the same, but rather something different in order to be able to measure the multidimensional and complex construct of interdisciplinarity.