D. F. De Souza, M. Fontana, M. Iori, V. Leone Sciabolazza, Specialization vs Interdisciplinarity.

Using data on 26,926 focal articles published by 6,105 researchers affiliated to the University of Florida in the period 2008-2013, we evaluate the extent to which a variation in a paper interdisciplinarity affects the accruing of citations and the extramural influence of these researchers. We find that scholars’ performance and reach depends on the dimension of interdisciplinarity being explored. Consistent with this, we identify a trade-off between the accumulation of citations and the dispersion of citations across fields of study. We conclude that the costs of interdisciplinary research are important enough to negatively impact researchers academic careers, but the public benefits arising from knowledge diffusion across domains are substantive and cannot be dismissed.