The difficulties and importance of interdisciplinary research

I have done good interdisciplinary research.
But it has been difficult for others to measure its quality.
That’s because fewer people understand the two or three fields that overlap in some of my work.

Impact factors are too often used as a measure of scholarly achievement.
That’s OK if you work in a narrowly specified field and publish in the leading  journals and conferences in that field.
Google on criticism of journal impact factor to see the recent spate of criticism of journal impact factors.

A personal problem for my research, related to what I’ll call, my cognitive style and predispositions. I develop new ideas and systems and publish them.
Next, I find some other area interesting and publish in it.
As a practical matter, only a fraction of the community reads any particular journal or goes to any particular conference series. So my work has been seen by too few people.

The lesson to learn: Publish everywhere and often on any topic I feel should be noticed.  I’m finally doing this with my current computational linguistics work.
I’ve been focused on it for some time.  It’s novel (that’s me!). I intend to stay focused on it until it’s in production and achieving real results.  I intend to publish many substantial results from it, not moving on to some new area.

My NLP research may not reach fruition until 2016. Stay tuned.


About heartandmindandme

Husband and father. Wise and droll wife and three wonderful kids. Scientist all my long life - Physics, Biology, Computer Science, and more. Washington, DC and Leesburg, VA public schools. MIT bachelor's and PhD. Faculty member of U. of Illinois and Northeastern U. for 25 years until recent retirement. Member of Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, MA. Like: Classical music plus instrumental folk and old jazz, or just sit and watch the sky, trees, birds, rain, wind, and snow.
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