Recognizing prior research and reflection, we offer a definition of interdisciplinary research (IDR) that focuses on integration of concepts, techniques and/or data. We note that this need not entail teaming. Building upon this definition, we discuss its implications for accurate measurement. We then synthesize contextual and process factors expected to foster knowledge integration. These suggest a rich set of research questions concerning the implications for successful IDR of actions by universities, funding organizations, professional associations, and the science media, including journal editors. We seek to engage social scientists who study research practices, organizations, and policy in consideration of interdisciplinary research processes and their evaluation.

Author notes

Alan Porter is an Evaluation Consultant with the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), and co-directs the Technology Policy and Assessment Center, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA 30332-0345, USA, and is Director of R&D, Search Technology; Email: alan.porter@isye.gatech.edu. Alex Cohen, Evaluation Research Associate/Programmer, and Marty Perreault, Keck Futures Initiative Program Director, are staff with the US National Academies, 5251 California Ave., Suite 230, Irvine CA 92612, USA; Email: MPerreault@nas.edu. David Roessner is the NAKFI Senior Evaluation Consultant, co-directs the Technology Policy and Assessment Center at Georgia Tech, and is with SRI International. His address is 2425 Pemberton Dr., Prescott, AZ 86305, USA.