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Anx-rayimageofscientificcooperation

TheclosecooperationbetweendifferentdepartmentsisoneofKielUniversitysgreatstrengths.TheStrategyDepartmentwantstorevealhowinterdisciplinaryitreallyisalsoinaninterdisciplinaryundertakingwithComputerScience.

Complex weave of coloured lines and dots
IsabellaPeters

TowhatextentdothedepartmentsofKielUniversityworktogether?Thediagramshowsanexcerptfromthenetworkofcooperations.Eachdotstandsforanauthor,eachlineforajointpublication.

Climatechange,theenergyrevolution,socialinequalitymanyofthechallengesofourtimearesocomplexthatscientistsfromdifferentdisciplinesareresearchingthemtogether.AttheCAU,forinstance,thereisarealfocusoninterdisciplinarywork,orsothewebsiteclaims.Yetcanthisreallybeproved?Wewanttofindoutwhetherwereallyareasinterdisciplinaryauniversityasweliketoclaim,saidPascalSadaune,HeadoftheStrategyandPlanningDepartment.ThequestionofhowinterdisciplinaritycanevenbemadevisiblebroughthimtoIsabellaPeters.TheProfessorofWebScienceresearchesformsofscientificcommunicationattheDepartmentofComputerSciencefrompublicationstodiscussionsinsocialmedia.Petersisanexpertatanalysinginformationflowsinlargegroupsandvisualizingtheconnections.Socialnetworkanalysisactuallycomesfromsocialsciences.Itisusedformanypurposes,includingdetectingterrorismtoshowwhoisincontactwithwhom,sheexplained.

TogetherwithstudentOliverHahn,PeterscreatedagraphicthatgivesaninsightintointerdisciplinaryresearchcooperationattheCAU.Theytookscientificarticlespublishedjointlybyseveralscientistsasareferencevalue.Whatatfirstglanceresemblesacrossbetweenaheapofstarsandabrightlycolouredballofwool,Peterscallsanx-rayimageofscientificcooperation,whichleavesroomfordiagnoses.

EverypointrepresentsascientistatKielUniversity.Iftwoofthempublishedapapertogether,theyarejoinedbyaline.Thecloserthepointsaretooneanother,thecloserthecooperation,explainedHahn.Cooperationbetweeninstitutesandfacultiescanbeidentifiedataglancebythedifferentcolours.

ThegraphicisbasedonadatasetfromtheWebofScience,acomprehensivedatabasethatgenerallycoversscientificpapersinEnglishfromhigh-profilejournals.Inordertoevaluatethedatausingnetworkanalysismethods,eachauthorhadtobeclearlyassignedtoaninstitutenoeasytaskwhenfacedwiththeinconsistentdetailsinthepublicationsthemselves,namechangesortemporaryresearchplacementsbyscientists.

Thejointpublicationsaretheonlyrealevidencethatwehaveofcooperation.Ofcourse,thisisonlyafractionoftheinterdisciplinarycooperationthattakesplaceeverydayattheCAU,emphasizedPeters.Forinstance,thegraphic,whichincorporates4,694publications,isunabletodeliveranyinformationontheFacultiesofLawandTheology,astheirpublicationsarenotincludedinthedatabase.Nordoesitreflectcooperationwithexternalinstitutions.Asdepartmentsatuniversitiesareoftenassignedtodifferentfaculties,itisnotpossibletodrawacomparisonwithotheruniversitiesinthisway.Adatasetthatisascompleteaspossible,asiscurrentlybeingcompiledintheCurrentResearchInformationSystem(CRIS)forKielUniversity,couldopenupfurtherexcitinganalysisopportunities,ofthatPetersandHahnarecertain.

AndhowinterdisciplinaryisresearchatKielUniversityreally?Peterslaughs.WecandefinitelysaythatcooperationatKielUniversityisdemonstrablyinterdisciplinaryinallthefacultieswewereabletoevaluate.Evidently,thenetworkanalysistooldoesntdeliversimpleanswers,butratherhelpstoaskmorespecificquestions.Forexample,whichcooperationprojectswerepreviouslynotknownabout?Howdoresearchfocusareasandclustersofexcellencepromotecooperation?Wherecouldaninterdisciplinaryprofessorshipbuildabridgebetweendisciplines?PascalSadaune:ThisanalysisfromtheDepartmentofComputerScienceprovidesuswithsomeexcitingkick-offpoints.Itspartofthepuzzlebutisonlyoneofmanymethodswecanusetoreflectonourselvesasauniversity.

Author:JuliaSiekmann