By Robert Pijpers and Sabine Luning
What do we mean by co-labouring? What practices does it involve? How can it enhance interactions among researchers and key stakeholders in transdisciplinary research?
Choosing the notion of ‘co-labouring’ in our transdisciplinary project stems from an awareness that creating alternative perspectives, eg., on sustainable futures for mining, is a complex endeavor. Ideas of researchers wanting to give voice to unheard groups at the margin are too often based on simple models of translation. These assumptions underestimate what gets lost in translation, or the gaps in understandings between different groups of stakeholders.
By Fabio Boschetti
The concept of unknown unknowns highlights the importance of introspection in assessing knowledge. It suggests that finding our way in the set of known-knowns, known-unknowns, unknown-knowns and unknown-unknowns, reduces to asking:
- how uncertain are we? and
- how aware are we of uncertainty?
When a problem involves a decision-making team, rather than a single individual, we also need to ask:
- how do context and perception affect what we know?
A Chinese version of this post is available
What are the research hotspots in the Science of Team Science (SciTS) field? How have they evolved in the last decade?
We used conference programs from the annual International Science of Team Science (INSciTS) conferences held between 2010-2019 and the CorTexT Platform (https://www.cortext.net/) to select the top terms used with high frequency in the 852 titles and abstracts.
High-frequency terms and their evolution
Acknowledging and responding to criticisms of interdisciplinarity / Reconnaître et répondre aux critiques de l’interdisciplinarité
A French version of this post is available
What are the core arguments that critics of interdisciplinarity employ? Which of these criticisms can help to clarify what interdisciplinarity is and what it isn’t?
While some of the criticisms of interdisciplinarity stem from a general misunderstanding of its purpose or from a bad experience, others seem well-founded. Thus, while some must be rejected, others should be accepted.
I outline five different types of criticisms drawn from three main sources:(1) academic writings (see reference list), (2) an empirical survey on interdisciplinarity (Sauzet 2017) (3) informal discussions.
By Dorothy Broom
In reflecting on my researcher-activist role in women’s health, I’ve come up with six tips that may provide guidance to those embarking on such a role. The lessons I draw can also be relevant in other fields of endeavour, in population health, environmental research and beyond.
Tip 1: Build your legitimacy with those you are aiming to influence and those you are advocating for
My academic research in the 1980s and 90s on the politics of women’s health was distinct from my feminist political activism. Prompted by intellectual curiosity, I developed a research profile that fortuitously prepared me to take on an advocacy role at a time of major policy foment.
My publications and conference presentations gave me legitimacy with public servants charged with policy and program development; while my personal involvement in feminist social action gave me a different kind of credibility with social-movement actors.
Highlighted posts on decision support
By Bonnie McBain
What makes scenarios useful to decision makers in effectively planning for the future? Here I discuss three aspects of scenarios:
- design; and,
- use and defensibility.
Goals of scenarios
Since predicting the future is not possible, it’s important to know that scenarios are not predictions. Instead, scenarios stimulate thinking and conversations about possible futures.
By Greg Schreiner
Global development aspirations, such as those endorsed within the Sustainable Development Goals, are complex. Sometimes the science is contested, the values are divergent, and the solutions are unclear. How can researchers help stakeholders and policy-makers use credible knowledge for decision-making, which accounts for the full range of trade-off implications?
‘Assessments’ are now commonly used.
A new boundary object to promote researcher engagement with policy makers / Un nuevo objeto frontera para promover la colaboración de los investigadores con los tomadores de decisiones
A Spanish version of this post is available
Can boundary objects be designed to help researchers and decision makers to interact more effectively? How can the socio-political setting – which will affect decisions made – be reflected in the boundary objects?
Here I describe a new context-specific boundary object to promote decision making based on scientific evidence. But first I provide a brief introduction to boundary objects.
What is a ‘boundary object’?
By Peter R. Mulvihill
What can we learn about the role and importance of scoping in the context of environmental impact assessment?
“Closed” versus “open” scoping
I am intrigued by the highly variable approaches to scoping practice in environmental impact assessment and the considerable range between “closed” approaches and more ambitious and open exercises. Closed approaches to scoping tend to narrow the range of questions, possibilities and alternatives that may be considered in environmental impact assessment, while limiting or precluding meaningful public input. Of course, the possibility of more open scoping is sometimes precluded beforehand by narrow terms of reference determined by regulators.
When scoping is not done well, it inevitably compromises subsequent steps in the process.