Interdisciplinary and collaborative work: Framing promotion and tenure practices and policies

Julie Thompson Klein, Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Interdisciplinarity and collaboration are keywords for change in the 21st century. Both, however, face challenges across the entire academic system, from administrative policies and budget formulas to disciplinary cultures of research and education. This Research Note is the first synthesis of findings from literature and models for practices and policies that recognize interdisciplinary and collaborative work in the promotion and tenure (P&T) process, brought together in a table of recommendations. Creating a culture of reward requires consistency, alignment, and comprehensiveness at all stages and levels of evaluation, from defining expectations in the initial appointment to preparing individual candidates’ dossiers to incorporating appropriate criteria. Several organizations have led the way in formulating recommendations for recognizing interdisciplinary and collaborative work. Professional societies and academic administrators at local levels are also providing leadership. Institution-wide policies are rare though do exist. More often individual units are issuing guidelines for appropriate evaluation. A number of studies have also called for widening definition of what counts for consideration, including innovative, applied, and commercial research and development. The overriding lesson to emerge is the importance of a systematic and informed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1061
Number of pages7
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative and team
  • Innovation
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Organizational policy and management
  • Promotion and tenure


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