Vol 11 - Thinking interdisciplinarity in practice

Taking collaborative work between scientific disciplines as an object of study leads us to both think and realize it in all its complexity in order to allow a fruitful dialogue between theory and practice while questioning the interest and limits of producing an expertise. The issues go far beyond the definitions that can be given to cooperation between disciplines; this is women and men who interact with or without difficulties, institutions that carry or support these works, common or different temporalities between the multiple actors of the research... A systemic viewpoint seems to be relevant to approach this problem, without being exclusive. The expected articles may refer to different scientific disciplines and methodologies, however the focus will be not on the results of multi, inter or transdisciplinary studies, but in understanding how collaborative works are constructed, conducted, questioned and finalized in complexity with all the obstacles and levers that researchers may encounter. This issue will be coordinated by researchers from different disciplines (computer science, linguistics, anthropology, psychology) with multiple methods and problematics. The ambition is to open a reflection that would allow the study of science and its practice in a dialogical approach. This call is open to any contribution combining theory and practice of science in interdisciplinarity. For examples, a reflexive feedback on the building of a project and the articulation of disciplines and its evolution during the project, or studies on the collaborative work of researchers and its evolution in sociology of science, history of science or science studies... Various questions can be studied: • What is the structure of the working group, its dynamics? How does it evolve over time? • What is the impact of the multi-, inter- or trans- factor on the organisational, cognitive and even affective aspects? • What are the contributions and obstacles linked to the diversity of disciplines, methods, etc.? • How do scientists understand these collaborations? • What could be the epistemology for interdisciplinarity and other forms of collaborative work?

1. Le projet architectural à travers une pensée croisée entre l'art et la science

Kaouthar Zair.
L’enseignement de l’architecture se présente comme un carrefour d’échange interdisciplinaire, qui ne se base pas seulement sur le volet pratique, mais qui comporte une approche théorique faisant appel aux notions et références développées dans les cours théoriques. Il se présente ainsi comme un laboratoire de recherche et d’expérimentation sur l’architecture dans son écriture extérieure et intérieure en tant que discipline intégrant la forme et l’espace, développant des approches pédagogiques interactives et complémentaires. Le choix d’un dispositif pédagogique comme prétexte pour aborder l’interdisciplinarité dans le projet architectural devrait en conséquence être bien réfléchi avec un cheminement méthodologique ciblé qui permettrait d’explorer la synergie entre architecture et ingénierie, architecture et design de l’espace, architecture et sculpture, architecture et urbanisme. Faire intervenir les spécialistes tels que plasticien, ingénieur, historien, sociologue, conservateur du patrimoine et urbaniste dans la conception d’un projet architectural ne peut qu’enrichir les connaissances de l’apprenant et développer chez lui un esprit de collaboration et d’échange.

2. Interdisciplinary dialogue clarifies disciplinary teaching

Olivier Morizot ; Morgane Bascaules ; Mariann Chrétien ; Johanna Tonussi- Reboh ; Guillaume Tonussi ; Camille Noûs ; Florence Boulc'H.
Since 2019, at the Institut de Recherche sur l'Enseignement des Sciences in Aix-Marseille Université, we have been running a workshop aimed at exploring solutions to the difficulties regularly encountered in interdisciplinary teaching. At regular intervals, this workshop brings together six teachers from different disciplines - from university and high school - who are simply given the time to present and explain to each other the specificities of the discipline they teach, using a basic categorial grid to guide analysis and enable comparison. However, our initial findings indicate that the primary beneficiary of these interdisciplinary encounters is disciplinary teaching itself. In fact, this introspective and collective work has brought to light fundamental implicits, specific or common, to these disciplines that teachers were unaware of; that they had never shared with their students; and that they identified as the source of hitherto unspeakable difficulties encountered by many of them. The hypothesis defended here is therefore that - through an effect of analogies and contrasts - interdisciplinary dialogue can be a formidable tool for reinforcing and clarifying disciplinary teaching, and could play a key role in teacher training.

3. To think of interdisciplinarity as intercurrence: Or, working as an interdisciplinary team to develop an ML tool to tackle online gender-based violence and hate speech

Cheshta Arora ; Tarunima Prabhakar.
The paper reflects on the working of an interdisciplinary team consisting of researchers and activists from the field of computer science and social sciences involved in developing a user-facing, browser plug-in to detect and moderate instances of online gender-based violence, hate speech and harassment in Hindi, Indian English, and Tamil. There have been multiple calls within the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to include qualitative methods in one’s research design. These calls, while attuned to the importance of qualitative methods for HCI, ignore the intercurrent nature of different research methods, disciplines and practices. The paper borrows the concept of intercurrence from Orren & Skowronek (1996) and reorients it to explicate the practice of interdisciplinary research. It argues that intercurrence i.e. (in between, an occurrence within an occurrence) is a useful image to perceive interdisciplinarity wherein we argue that at any given point, an interdisciplinary team navigates multiple, yet simultaneously occurring temporal dimensions of differently disciplined bodies. An awareness of these multiple temporalities adds another dimension to thinking about conflicts and possibilities emerging from interdisciplinary practices and reorients interdisciplinary research towards unexpected outcomes.

4. L’autopraxéographie, une méthode pour construire des savoirs à partir de son expérience dans une perspective complexe et interdisciplinaire

Marie-Noëlle Albert ; Nadia Lazzari Dodeler ; Marie-Michèle Couture ; Nancy Michaud.
The objective of this paper is to explain autopraxeography and to show how this method uses interdisciplinarity to understand lived situations in a complex way. This method is based on the human experience of at least one of the co-researchers. It is situated in a pragmatic co-constructivist epistemological paradigm. It uses a wide range of theories, regardless of their original disciplines, to step back from the lived experience. It is a dialogue between the lived experience and each point of view that can be found through multidisciplinary scientific writings, co-researchers, reviewers, etc. The fact of digging into one's own experiences without being locked into a discipline can allow one to answer disciplinary questions in a way that accepts the complexity of the lived reality. Furthermore, this method, when used by students in a continuing education, process can facilitate their opportunity to become reflective practitioners aware of the need to break down disciplinary barriers.

5. Searching for carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands across disciplines, using Natural Language Processing

Corentin van den Broek d'Obrenan ; Frédéric Galliano ; Jeremy Minton ; Viktor Botev ; Ronin Wu.
The explosion of scientific publications overloads researchers with information. This is even more dramatic for interdisciplinary studies, where several fields need to be explored. A tool to help researchers overcome this is Natural Language Processing (NLP): a machine-learning (ML) technique that allows scientists to automatically synthesize information from many articles. As a practical example, we have used NLP to conduct an interdisciplinary search for compounds that could be carriers for Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs), a long-standing open question in astrophysics. We have trained a NLP model on a corpus of 1.5 million cross-domain articles in open access, and fine-tuned this model with a corpus of astrophysical publications about DIBs. Our analysis points us toward several molecules, studied primarily in biology, having transitions at the wavelengths of several DIBs and composed of abundant interstellar atoms. Several of these molecules contain chromophores, small molecular groups responsible for the molecule's colour, could be promising candidate carriers. Identifying viable carriers demonstrates the value of using NLP to tackle open scientific questions, in an interdisciplinary manner.

6. L’interdisciplinarité dans tous ses états : une approche complexe, floue et interalogique

Déborah Nourrit-Lucas ; Guillaume Aleveque ; Anne Laurent ; Thérèse Libourel Rouge.
Le rapprochement voire la collaboration entre les disciplines scientifiques s'impose comme le moyen privilégié pour comprendre la complexité des objets questionnés dans les projets de recherche. Dans cet article, nous recensons les différentes définitions données aux formes d’interaction entre disciplines depuis 1972 et la publication pionnière de Interdisciplinarity: problems of teaching and research in universities. Il apparait que la rigidité normative des définitions, ainsi que leur multiplication, rendent difficilement compte des nuances et des dynamiques de la collaboration au sein des projets scientifiques qui dépassent les frontières disciplinaires. Néanmoins, c’est un dialogue entre théorie et pratique enrichissant que nous chercherons à initier, aussi bien pour l’étude que pour la méthodologie de l’interdisciplinarité, en proposant d’aborder la gradualité de tels contextes par un croisement entre psychologie expérimentale, anthropologie et sciences de l’informatique. Nous envisagerons ainsi des pistes de modélisation en exploitant notamment les fondements de la théorie des sous-ensembles flous apparue dans les années 60 pour la formalisation mathématique des objets aux contours flous. Cela nous conduira à envisager la question de l'interdisciplinarité et de toutes les formes de collaborations à partir d'une logique floue à inscrire dans le champ plus large de ce l'on pourrait nommer la science de l'inter-: l'interalogie.

7. Pourquoi l’interdisciplinarité qui souvent s’impose d’elle-même, est-elle si difficile à être reconnue comme fondamentale ? Retour sur une expérience personnelle

Blandine Bril.
Twenty years ago, the Journal du CNRS published a short note entitled “La perle de la pluridisciplinarité” (“The pearl of multidisciplinarity”), a Word Game about an experiment carried out with carnelian bead craftsmen working in the town of Khambhat (India, Gujarat state) by a small group of five researchers from different institutions and various scientific fields: archaeology, psychology, biomechanics and neuroscience. This article examines various facets of this interdisciplinary experience, analyzing the way questions were posed, collaborations formed, relationships between researchers. Other issues such as funding and publications are also considered as well as institutional difficulties and scientific misunderstandings of such approaches, knowing that disciplinary boundaries often remain the standard.

8. La science ensemble : pratique de l’interdisciplinarité au sein d’un projet d’observatoire de l’habitat du futur

Guillaume Alévêque ; Anne Laurent ; Thérèse Libourel Rouge ; Déborah Nourrit-Lucas.
Cet article propose l'observation ethnographique et l’analyse interdisciplinaire d’un projet scientifique constitué d’une diversité de disciplines autour de la thématique de l’habitat du futur. Matérialiser par un appartement truffé de capteurs habité à l’année (universitaire) par deux étudiants volontaires et sélectionnés, la collaboration entre les chercheurs y prend une forme originale qui permet de réévaluer ce que représente l’Interdisciplinarité au sein de la recherche scientifique contemporaine. Fait social complexe, elle devient elle-même un objet sur lequel les acteurs projettent des stratégies et des attentes à la conjonction des multiples dimensions qu’elle sous-tend aussi comme organisation de la collaboration, méthodologie, perspective de résultats et incitation institutionnelle ambivalente.

9. How to think about interdisciplinarity in practice? A question of disposition, indisciplinarity and complexity

Déborah Nourrit-Lucas.
Ce texte constitue le prologue du numéro 11 du Journal on Interdisciplinary Methodologies and Issues in Science : Penser l'interdisciplinarité en pratique. L'ensemble des 10 contributions est brièvement présenté à partir des fondements qui font l'interdisciplinarité en pratique : les dispositions des chercheurs, leur posture indisciplinaire et le contexte complexe dans lequel s'opère l'interdisciplinarité.

10. Mixing Biology and Computer Science Concepts to Design Resilient Data Lakes

Marzieh Derakhshannia ; Anne Laurent ; Arnaud Martin.
Data lakes appeared a few years ago, introduced in particular to meet the challenges of storing and exploiting IoT data. They were first considered as a new technical and commercial tool, sold by the main database software editors. More recently, they have become the subject of research, in particular to define what a data lake should be, what it should provide in terms of services, and how it should be built. In this work, we have tried to return to the origins of data lakes, starting from the name “lake”. We present here how we worked, between biologists and computer scientists, to understand the links between natural and data lakes. In this article, we first explore the links between the disciplines of biology and computer science before declining these links for the particular theme of lakes. This could appear as a work of transferring knowledge from biology to computer science, and a “simple” application of the concepts. However, we had to interact and understand each other’s concepts and issues to align a possible comparison between the disciplines, for example to determine at what scale to establish the biological comparison, from DNA to the more macro system of the animal and plant ecosystem present in a natural lake. For this reason, we are inspired by a hybrid method based on ecological and logistical network topology to propose the resilient structure for the data lake. Thus, we use the Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) as a bio-inspired method and Graph […]

11. Le Groupe Interdisciplinaire sur l’Électricité Atmosphérique Naturelle (GIEAN): Report on a radical interdisciplinary experiment

Marc Conesa ; Julien Mary.
This article analyses interdisciplinarity as it was practiced or created conflicts within the realm of a collective project, the GIEAN (Groupe Interdisciplinaire sur l’Électricité Atmosphérique Naturelle), which brought together a panel of researchers from different disciplines to identify obstacles on the one hand, and heuristic and epistemological contributions on the other hand. The meetings and exchanges provided most of the material analyzed by the two authors, who were also participant-observers of the project. This article provides a threefold analysis: that of the genesis of the project, of the first meetings and the institutional formalization; that of the objects of study, their construction by the different disciplines, which revealed different research timeframes, but also the implicit — or sometimes explicit — unconsidered hierarchies of the disciplines, revealing different but not entirely opposed regimes of truth and scientific proof. The third analysis finally questions the multiple effects of interdisciplinarity on the project, the disciplines, and the researchers, but also the research structure that supported and accompanied the project — in this case the “Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH)” — to lead to, in the form of an epilogue, the manner in which this article was received by the co-sponsor of the project. From start to finish, this paper presents a writing style centered on interdisciplinary encounters and practices, because if […]