When and When Not to Choose Them
The consideration of interdisciplinarity concludes by addressing two questions. First, what are some of the challenges to moving forward to pursuing interdisciplinary research? Here the focus is primarily on the value that the disciplinary basis of the academy brings. The disciplines do, after all, serve as the basis for peer review through their ability to define the relevant scientific community from which to achieve assent. These aspects provide a strong set of incentives for disciplinary scholarship, perhaps most centrally by providing the most well-defined path to tenure. The second question, then, is how to choose when to support interdisciplinary institutes. The answer requires a carefully planned administrative design to provide a path to tenure and other merit evaluations by creating institutional analogues to peer review, and yet doing so without establishing a fixed institutional design that survives even as the intellectual motivations risk obsolescence.
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