US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Tips and traps in interdisciplinary research
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Ecosystems strives to be an effective journal that reflects the many disciplines that contribute to ecosystem science and bridges a variety of boundaries (Carpenter and Turner 1998; Turner and Carpenter 1999). As we work to attract and publish research that integrates natural science, social science, and management systems, we have become increasingly aware of the challenges inherent in this endeavor. For example, peer review of articles that span distinct disciplines can be problematic, in part because studies or approaches considered interesting or worthwhile in one discipline may be considered quite differently in another. Furthermore, criteria for acceptance appear to vary between different disciplinary cultures. We already have seen evidence of these factors operating in the review process this year, leading to split recommendations that appear strongly driven by cross-disciplinary difference. More generally, the need for interdisciplinary research to assume a much more prominent role has been recognized as key to developing innovative questions and overcoming limitations to intellectual progress in ecosystem science (Likens 1998).