Stimulating interdisciplinary cooperation

Interdisciplinary cooperation thrives when there is a clearly defined need and benefit for it. The understanding of climate drivers has involved multiple disciplines and bridges between them resulting in outcomes and predictions for decision makers. Multidisciplinary research involves risks to scientists in working with other “unknown” communities, whose metrics and languages are different and who may approach problems with different methodologies. These can be overcome with a number of steps in building new “multi-lingual” communities. The first is to have clearly defined needs which demand multi-disciplinary solutions – examples include understanding forcing functions in global climate change or evolution of coastal environments. There should be common languages (common use of terms), translatable methodologies and metrics. There should also be a resource for documentation of shared best practices.

The RCN will address these issues and identify resources that can be leveraged. Through workshops with themes at major conferences, community building will be encouraged. The development of common, accepted ontologies such as those being build for GEOSS will be evaluated. Approaches for translation of metrics across disciplines will be important, particularly when the fields are as diverse as physical measurements and the sociology of user response. A good example is the user perceptions of data quality within and outside the community of scientists. The RCN will select among these and other subjects for facilitating effective multi-disciplinary collaborations and develop guidelines along with recommended implementation methodologies. The desire is to have an example of a new and successful collaboration.