Editor's blog

ISR is a quarterly journal that aims to set contemporary and historical developments in the sciences and technology into their wider social and cultural context and to illuminate their interrelations with the humanities and arts. It seeks out contributions that measure up to the highest excellence in scholarship but that also speak to an audience of intelligent non-specialists. It actively explores the differing trajectories of the disciplines and practices in its purview, to clarify what each is attempting to do in its own terms, so that constructive dialogue across them is strengthened. It focuses whenever possible on conceptual bridge-building and collaborative research that nevertheless respect disciplinary variation. ISR features thematic issues on broad topics attractive across the disciplines and publishes special issues derived from wide-ranging interdisciplinary colloquia and conferences.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 38.4 (December 2013)

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
38.2 (June 2013)


Guest Editorial

Authors: Bartleet, Carina; Shepherd-Barr, Kirsten

Science in contemporary British theatre: a conceptual approach

Author: Campos, Liliane

Cardboard, Conjuring and 'A Very Curious Experiment'

Author: Watt-Smith, Tiffany

Imagining Otherwise: Autism, Neuroaesthetics and Contemporary Performance

Author: Shaughnessy, Nicola

Revisiting the Puzzle Factory: Cultural Representations of Psychiatric Asylums

Author: Harpin, Anna

Performing Science (Not Ethics) in Analogue's 2401 Objects

Author: Bartleet, Carina

''The Accesptable Face of the Unintelligible': Intermediality and the Science Play'

Author: Heuvel, Mike Vanden



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Talking Conservation in inter- and multidisciplinary contexts

Recently Lisa Feldkamp (of the Nature Conservancy and ACLS Public Fellow and Senior Coordinator for New Science Audiences) wrote to me about an interesting post on the Nature Conservancy's Cool Green Science blog. The post is written by Jonathan Adams (a freelance writer/editor) and summarises a study that is published in the current issue of BioScience 63. A shortened version is posted below.  

The Study: Roy, E.D., A.T. Morzillo, F. Seijo, S.M.W. Reddy et al. 2013. The elusive pursuit of interdisciplinarity at the human–environment interface. BioScience 63:745–753.

The Big Question(s): Do today’s scientists talk enough and work together well enough to solve the world’s most pressing conservation problems?
Or do communication and institutional boundaries keep them siloed in traditional natural or social science disciplines?
Our greatest conservation challenges all occur at the interface between humans and the environment. So solving such complex problems requires integrating natural and social sciences, from ecology to economics to political science to psychology.
Yet despite growing awareness of the need to break down disciplinary barriers truly interdisciplinary efforts remain elusive.
In order to uncover the hidden barriers and identify solutions, this study conducted the first comprehensive analysis of the perspectives and experiences of human–environment researchers.

Study Nuts and Bolts: Roy and his co-authors (including Conservancy senior scientist Sheila Walsh Reddy) represent a range of specialties, departments, and institutions; they developed a 76-question survey and sent it to several thousand natural and social scientists from around the world to get information on their experiences with and perspectives on interdisciplinary research.

The Findings: The responses highlight a problem that turns out to be fundamental to more effective conservation: the difference between interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary.
Many people, it turns out, have worked on teams with researchers from other fields.
More often than not, however, projects leave barriers between disciplines untouched. Just adding more specialists to a team might provide some insights, but the big breakthroughs come from synthesis among the disciplines.
Don’t misunderstand: striving for interdisciplinary research has reaped benefits, including the development of new kinds of knowledge, new perspectives and intellectual stimulation.
But the costs are high. Academic institutions may be providing interdisciplinary training for students, but their support for senior researchers is lacking, as most do not credit interdisciplinary research toward tenure or promotion. Add the fact that researchers have relatively few options for publishing interdisciplinary results, and it becomes clear that taking on such projects is a considerable career risk.
Environmental organizations have similar mismatch between their recognition of the need for human-environment researchers and institutional boundaries. Yet, change is coming as conservation organizations are beginning to fill their ranks with economists, human geographers and anthropologists.

What it All Means: The good news from this study: Both natural and social scientists understand the rewards, advantages, challenges and obstacles to interdisciplinary research.
The bad news: Advancements in science that have increased specialization have also made it more difficult for scientists to work with others outside of their specialty.

One part of the solution may lie in training scientists to think more broadly early on, while they are still undergraduates. That may be key to training a generation of researchers with both interdisciplinary breadth and disciplinary depth. In addition, interdisciplinary researchers need to communicate with each other, with administrators, with others in their specific fields, and with the broader public about the results and importance of their efforts.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 38.2 (June 2013)

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
38.2 (June 2013)



The disciplining of scientific communities
Bulpin, Kate; Molyneux-Hodgson, Susan

Research on mediated suffering within social sciences: expert views on
identifying a disciplinary home and research agenda
Joye, Stijn

On the Constituent Attributes of Software and Organizational Resilience
Florio, Vincenzo De1

Using Galant Schemata as Evidence for Universal Darwinism
Jan, Steven

Econometrics: an historical guide for the uninitiated
Pollock, Stephen


Thursday, 13 June 2013

D'Arcy Thompson and his legacy: ISR 38.1 (March 2013)

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 38.1 (March 2013)

The Editorial by Matthew Jarron in ISR 38.1: 'D'Arcy Thompson and his legacy' is freely available.  

The volume comprises the following articles: 

Jarron, Matthew

DArcy Thompsons Legacy in Contemporary Studies of Patterns and Morphology
Hyde, Stephen T

A Bridge between Science and Art? The Artistic Reception of On Growth
and Form in Interwar Britain, c. 1930-42
Juler, Edward

Portrait of a Polymath - A Visual Portrait of DArcy Thompson by Will Maclean
Jarron, Matthew

On Theme and Variation
Randall-Page, Peter

DArcy Thompsons On Growth and Form and the Concept of Dynamic Form in
Postwar Avant-Garde Art Theory
Kaniari, Assimina

Hits, Misses and Close Calls: An Image Essay on Pattern Formation in On
Growth and Form
Ball, Philip

Explore it online here.