Is pretenure interdisciplinary research a career risk?
Article first published online: 3 AUG 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 93, Issue 32, pages 311–312, 7 August 2012
How to Cite
2012), Is pretenure interdisciplinary research a career risk?, Eos Trans. AGU, 93(32), 311., et al., (
- Issue published online: 3 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 3 AUG 2012
- NSF. Grant Numbers: SES-0931402, SES-0932916
- NASA. Grant Number: NNX10AJ53G
Despite initiatives to promote interdisciplinary research, early-career academics continue to perceive professional risks to working at the interface between traditional disciplines. Unexpectedly, the inherent practical challenges of interdisciplinary scholarship, such as new methodologies and lexicons, are not the chief source of the perceived risk. The perception of risk is pervasive across disciplines, and it persists despite efforts to support career development for individuals with common interests [Mitchell and Weiler, 2011]. Suggestions that interdisciplinary work can go unrewarded in academia [Clark et al., 2011] foster a concern that targeting interdisciplinary questions, such as those presented by climate change, will pose problems for acquiring and succeeding in a tenure-track position. If self-preservation limits the questions posed by early-career academics, a perceived career risk is as damaging as a real one to new transdisciplinary initiatives. Thus, institutions should address the source of this perception whether real or specious.