Translating Interdisciplinary Knowledge for Gender Equity: Quantifying the Impact of NSF ADVANCE

In Social Science Quarterly


Interdisciplinarity is often hailed as a necessity for tackling real-world challenges. We examine the prevalence and impact of interdisciplinarity in the NSF ADVANCE program, which addresses gender equity in STEM. Through a quantitative analysis of authorship, references, and citations in ADVANCE publications, we compare the interdisciplinarity of knowledge produced within the program to traditional disciplinary knowledge. We use Simpon’s Diversity Index to test for differences across disciplines, and we use negative binomial regression to capture the potential influences of interdisciplinarity on the long-term impact of ADVANCE publications. ADVANCE publications exhibit higher levels of interdisciplinarity across three dimensions of knowledge integration, and cross-disciplinary ties within ADVANCE successfully integrate social science knowledge into diverse disciplines. Additionally, the interdisciplinarity of publication references positively influences the impact of ADVANCE work, while the interdisciplinarity of authorship teams does not. These findings emphasize the significance of interdisciplinarity in problem-oriented knowledge production, indicating that specific forms of interdisciplinarity can lead to broader impact. By shedding light on the interplay between interdisciplinary approaches, disciplinary structures, and academic recognition, this article contributes to programmatic design to generate impactful problem-solving knowledge that also adds to the academic community.

Social Science Quarterly
Laura K. Nelson
Laura K. Nelson
Assistant Professor of Sociology

I use computational methods to study social movements, culture, gender, institutions, and the history of feminism. I’m particularly interested in developing transparent and reproducible text analysis methods for sociology using open-source tools.