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ERIC Number: EJ1121015
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0026-4695
EISSN: N/A
Hidden in the Middle: Culture, Value and Reward in Bioinformatics
Lewis, Jamie; Bartlett, Andrew; Atkinson, Paul
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, v54 n4 p471-490 Dec 2016
Bioinformatics--the so-called shotgun marriage between biology and computer science--is an interdiscipline. Despite interdisciplinarity being seen as a virtue, for having the capacity to solve complex problems and foster innovation, it has the potential to place projects and people in anomalous categories. For example, valorised "outputs" in academia are often defined and rewarded by discipline. Bioinformatics, as an interdisciplinary bricolage, incorporates experts from various disciplinary cultures with their own distinct ways of working. Perceived problems of interdisciplinarity include difficulties of making explicit knowledge that is practical, theoretical, or cognitive. But successful interdisciplinary research also depends on an understanding of disciplinary cultures and value systems, often only tacitly understood by members of the communities in question. In bioinformatics, the "parent" disciplines have different value systems; for example, what is considered worthwhile research by computer scientists can be thought of as trivial by biologists, and "vice versa." This paper concentrates on the problems of reward and recognition described by scientists working in academic bioinformatics in the United Kingdom. We highlight problems that are a consequence of its cross-cultural make-up, recognising that the mismatches in knowledge in this borderland take place not just at the level of the practical, theoretical, or epistemological, but also at the cultural level, too. The trend in big, interdisciplinary science is towards multiple authors on a single paper; in bioinformatics this has created "hybrid" or "fractional" scientists who find they are being positioned not just in-between established disciplines but also in-between as middle authors or, worse still, left off papers altogether.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A