portunities for students at all levels was outlined in the
National Research Council’s (Institute of Medicine,
2005) “call for action” for facilitating multidisciplinary
research in universities. Krohn (2017) pointed out the
value of such training. Within an individual’s primary
discipline, the emphasis is on establishing and evaluating
cause–effect relationships relevant to domain-specific
theories. Interdisciplinary problems require application
of such knowledge from a variety of disciplines to the
specific cases, which requires skills and competencies
that are different from those for conducting research
within a discipline. In a sense, it provides students and
younger researchers with a broader perspective than they
would obtain by focusing solely on research within their
Finally, in multidisciplinary research, several issues of
dissemination arise. The positive aspect is that the research
may result in publication of findings in a variety of outlets.
Thus, the research can be framed for different audiences and
stakeholders, broadening the impact of the work. However,
coordination of the publications is often an issue given that
various disciplines have preferred outlets, different methodological and statistical criteria for inclusion and acceptance,
and different writing styles. For example, in psychology
refereed journals are the preferred outlet for research,
whereas in computer science juried conference proceedings
are the publication norm. This difference in publication
practices was in fact an issue for the inaugural APA Technology, Mind, and Society: An Interdisciplinary Conference
held in 2018, for which psychologists could submit abstracts (so that the research presented could be published
later in journal articles), whereas researchers from other
disciplines could submit full papers for publication in the
Association for Computing Machinery proceedings.
Continuing on the topic of dissemination, multidisciplinary research allows the opportunity to generate more
publications than is typically possible with disciplinary research conducted in a single laboratory. The volume of
publication allows for graduate students and postdoctoral
researchers to take on primary authorship roles that can be
instrumental in furthering their careers. However, because
these publications often have several coauthors, it is important that the contributions of individual researchers are not
lost. The issue of significant contribution is especially important for early career faculty when they are being evaluated for tenure and promotion. Therefore, the senior faculty
on the team need to ensure that the publications resulting
from the team reflect the contributions of not only the
graduate students and postdoctoral researchers but also the
junior faculty. This issue should not be crucial for highly
successful teams, because the number and range of publications should be adequate to reflect the contributions of all
Conclusion: The Demonstrated Value of
It should be evident from the successful projects conducted by the authors of the articles in this special issue and
their colleagues that, despite the challenges of conducting
multidisciplinary research, the rewards are many. This special issue provides only a small sample of projects with
psychologists as integral members of the team that led to
research resulting in many positive outcomes. Multidisciplinary research requires psychological scientists to bring
their disciplinary knowledge to problems outside of the
laboratory and to manage multiple goals. Being able to
satisfy this requirement confirms the value of the disciplinary knowledge base that can be applied to solving real-world problems. As a scientific discipline, psychology is
based on evidence, and through engagement in multidisciplinary research, psychologists are able to bring evidence-based solutions to a variety of societal issues.
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Breland, A., Balster, R. L., Cobb, C., Fagan, P., Foulds, J., Koch, J. R., . . .
Eissenberg, T. (2019). Answering questions about electronic cigarettes
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risk/safety information framing on Android app-installation decisions.
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