The Development of Mission Orientated Research Fields: A Comparison Between the Development of Coastal Research and River Science
Van den Besselaar, Peter
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Increasingly, research is funded through mission oriented programs. As a consequence, two types of dynamics are interacting: 1) the global cognitive dynamics of academic knowledge production and 2) the local dynamics of research policies, creating the conditions in which knowledge production takes place. The paper answers the following questions: How is the development of research fields shaped by these local policies? What types of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary cognitive structures develop, and do these address the articulated knowledge needs? What is the position of local researchers in the global research field, and how does this change over time? Do these local policies result in the formation of transdisciplinary collaboration between researchers and practitioners, addressing the problems formulated by local stakeholders? We study two cases which are both multidisciplinary academic fields as well as examples of policy oriented knowledge production: coastal studies and river studies in the Netherlands. The question this paper tries to answer is how mission oriented research funding influences the dynamics of knowledge production, and why. Methods and data The paper is organized as follows; - Firstly we analyze the policies formulated to shape river studies and coastal studies. What are the challenges for both fields as formulated in the core policy documents? How have these policies changed over time?  - Secondly, we will analyze the developments of both field, using bibliometric approaches . What are the research fronts, and what is the position of Dutch researchers in the two fields? Do these research fronts show the influence of research policies? Do we witness multidisciplinary structures emerging that relate to the societal priorities and research policies? - Finally, do we find traces of productive transdisciplinary interactions  between research and practice, in terms of papers co-authored by researchers and practitioners? Findings The cases show strong similarities, but also interesting differences.   The cases are remarkably similar in terms of their relation to basic research, in terms of the involved research fields, in terms of the organizational configurations, and in terms of the selected science policy instruments. Both fields are supported in the Netherlands with similar large scale programs of agenda setting and funding. And, societal problems are similar in the two cases. In both cases, also strong societal knowledge needs exist, related to safety issues, climate change, ecological preservation, and the economic role of the coastal and river areas. Additionally, in both cases the way the problems are articulated, changes over time. For example, in the defence against flooding, new policies have emerged that put much more emphasis on ecological sustainable solutions. This in turn influences demand for knowledge considerably. We show to which extent the research system takes up the societal questions. Does research activity increases in the relevant topics? Both in coastal studies as in river studies, science policy did influence the research done. For example, new directions in research can be discerned, such as research on soft coastal engineering and research on integral coastal zone management. Also the intensity of transdisciplinary collaboration has increased over time. More specifically, we will show which stakeholders are becoming increasingly active in research collaboration. However, despite the similarities, the analysis shows also considerable differences between coastal studies and river studies in terms of the emerging cognitive structures and the structure and intensity of local collaborations. The paper will conclude with an explanation of these differences, based on differences in cognitive identity  of the two fields under study. References  Merkx, F., & P. van den Besselaar, Positioning Indicators for cross-disciplinary challenges: the Dutch coastal defense research case. Research Evaluation 20 (2008) 1  van den Besselaar, P., & G. Heimeriks, Mapping research topics using word-reference co-occurrences: a method and an exploratory case study Scientometrics 68 (2006) pp.377-393  Peter van den Besselaar & Gaston Heimeriks, Disciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary: Concepts and Indicators. In M. Davis & C.S. Wilson (eds), Proceedings 8th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics - ISSI 2001. Sydney: UNSW 2001. 705-716  van Hemert, M., Making rivers modular. Emerging river science 1980-2005. PhD thesis, University Twente, 2008.