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Successful Interdisciplinary Collaborations: The Contributions of Shared Socio-Emotional-Cognitive Platforms to Interdisciplinary Synthesis

Kyoko Sato
Michele Lamont
Boix Mansilla
Science, Technology, & Human Values

Given the growing centrality of interdisciplinarity to scientific research, gaining a better understanding of successful interdisciplinary collaborations has become imperative. Drawing on extensive case studies of nine research networks in the social, natural, and computational sciences, we propose a construct that captures the multidimensional character of such collaborations, that of a shared cognitive–emotional–interactional (SCEI) platform. We demonstrate its value as an integrative lens to examine markers of and conditions for successful interdisciplinary collaborations as defined by researchers involved in these groups. We show that (1) markers and conditions embody three different dimensions: cognitive, emotional, and interactional; (2) these dimensions are present in all networks, albeit to different degrees; (3) the dimensions are intertwined and mutually constitutive; and (4) they operate in conjunction with institutional conditions created by funders. We compare the SCEI platforms to available frameworks for successful interdisciplinary work.