7.1.3The cognitive (organisational) approach

The basic notion of both approaches has now been sketched. Several opportunities along with some limitations have been mentioned as well. At ECOOM Leuven, we decided to use the cognitive approach for several obvious reasons. Tracing knowledge integration through information flows and, in particular, in the mirror of the distribution of cited references has, from the viewpoint of the available methods and techniques in quantitative science studies, the following important advantages.

  • The availability of large multidisciplinary citation and abstract databases allows a global approach with the determination of baseline values for benchmarking exercises.
  • The databases allow longitudinal studies and thus a dynamic view at interdisciplinarity.

As information flow has two directions, interdisciplinarity cannot only be studied in terms of how knowledge has already been integrated but also of how information from one discipline will be used in research in other fields in the future. As has been mentioned, a combination with text-based (dis-)similarities and diffusion through analysing lexical characteristics and text similarity of documents can also be envisaged.

This approach can always be extended to collaboration. Organisational aspects such as authors and affiliations can be considered and assigned to subject profiles or data can be supplemented by existing assignments, for instance, at the regional or national level.