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Seminar Report

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The ‘Interdisciplinary Research Discourse’ project held its second seminar at the University of Birmingham on 29th June. At the seminar, the results of various linguistic analyses, including Multi-Dimensional Analysis, Topic Modelling, and Phraseological Profiling, were presented. The aim of these analyses was to investigate the discourse of the interdisciplinary journal Global Environmental Change, along with 10 other journals dealing with environmental and related issues in the physical and social sciences. In addition, the researchers also interviewed and surveyed writers, reviewers and editors of the journal, the results of which were also presented at the seminar. The two-year project was funded by the ESRC and was supported by Elsevier publishers, who provided a corpus of the journal articles and assisted with conducting the survey and citation analysis.

The seminar was attended by representatives of the project’s intended user groups, such as Research Councils UK (RCUK), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), Springer-Verlag, Elsevier, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) practitioners and lecturers from various HE institutions, and managers of interdisciplinary research, e.g. Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Birmingham.

This one-day event was a great success with many thought-provoking discussions following the presentations, as well as the general discussion about the future of interdisciplinary research and the implementation of our findings to practice. One outcome of the project is that the team will develop a guide for writing interdisciplinary papers that can be used by early career researchers and this will be published on the Elsevier’s Publishing Campus website. Furthermore, we feel that research councils need to rethink their policies regarding funding applications for interdisciplinary projects by allowing applicants more space to present their cases to demonstrate the convergence of their various approaches to address a common problem without sacrificing rigour.

More details on the outcome of the seminar can be found on this blog. The slides from the presentations will be uploaded on the seminar’s Events page, while further reports on the findings will be published as part of a series of blog posts. Finally, you can find some photos from the seminar in the gallery below.

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