Mapping the Impact of Transdisciplinary Research: A Visual Comparison of Investigator-Initiated and Team-Based Tobacco Use Research Publications - Abstract
Science is increasingly being carried out in large cross-disciplinary research teams. However, currently little empirical research focused on understanding the outcomes and added-value associated with this type of research approach exists. This study utilizes a scientific mapping technique to compare the structure and topical coverage of publications over time for a transdisciplinary center-based initiative with a matched set of traditional investigator-initiated grants in the same field. Publication data obtained from two National Institutes of Health (NIH) databases for all three groups were overlaid onto the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Base Map of Science. The visualizations revealed that the publications from the transdisciplinary research centers spread across the topic map of science more rapidly and more comprehensively than both comparison groups. These findings are consistent with the notion that bringing scientists together from multiple disciplines can lead to more rapid proliferation and dissemination of scholarly knowledge across the scientific spectrum, thereby increasing the speed of scientific discovery and innovation.