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The (im)possibility of interdisciplinarity: lessons from constructing a theoretical framework for digital ecosystems

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This paper reflects critically on challenges and opportunities associated with developing a theoretical framework for an interdisciplinary Framework Programme 7 research project funded by the European Commission in the area of digital ecosystems. The paper first provides a description of the interdisciplinary structure of the research agenda of the project and the areas of digital ecosystem research prioritised by each discipline. Second, it discusses the challenging questions of epistemology that arose in the context of theorising interdisciplinary research and provides a summary of how these were dealt with in order to outline a theoretical framework for digital ecosystems research by the end of the project. Finally, it discusses the lessons that can be extrapolated from the project experience, arguing that it is impossible to develop a unified interdisciplinary theoretical framework due to irreconcilable epistemological differences, yet it is possible and very worthwhile for those adhering to various disciplinary perspectives to collaborate towards the achievement of a practical joint endeavour. These lessons, which are considered valuable to the broader research community, are summarised in a model of the (im)possibility of interdisciplinarity.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29152/1/The_%28im%29possibility_of_interdisciplinarity_%28LSERO_version2%29.pdf

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