What are the factors that hinder or support publishing interdisciplinary research? What does a successful
interdisciplinary publishing process look like? We address these questions by analyzing the publishing process of the interdisciplinary research project titled “Mountland.” Project researchers published most of their main results as a Special Feature of Ecology and Society. Using the story wall method and qualitative content analysis, we identified ten factors contributing to the success or failure of publishing interdisciplinary research. They can be assigned to four groups of resources: scientific resources, i.e., previous joint research, simultaneously written manuscripts; human resources, i.e., coordination, flexibility, composition of the team; integrative resources, i.e., vision of integration, chronology of results; and feedback resources, i.e., internal reviews, subject editors, external reviewers. According to this analysis, an ideal-typical publishing process necessitates, among other things, (1) a strong, interdisciplinary coordinator, (2) a clear shared vision of integration and a common framework, (3) flexibility in terms of money and time, (4) a certain sense of timing regarding when and how to exchange results and knowledge, (5) subject editors who are familiar with the specific project and its interdisciplinary merits, and (6) reviewers who are open minded about interdisciplinary efforts.
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The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) was established in 1977. It is one of 15 such centers supported by the CGIAR. ICARDA’s founding mandate to promote agricultural development in the dry areas of developing countries remains highly relevant today.