Diversity of individual research disciplines in scientific funding
Given the development in modern science and technology, scientists need interdisciplinary knowledge and collaborations. In the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), more than 59 % of individuals change their disciplinary application codes to pursue interdisciplinary applications for scientific funding. An algorithm that classifies interdisciplinary applications and calculates the diversity of individual research disciplines (DIRD) is proposed based on three-level disciplinary application codes. Using a sample of 37,330 unique individuals at the NSFC from 2000 to 2013, this research analyzed the DIRD of all sponsored individuals and found that DIRDs differ significantly among scientific departments, research areas, and universities. Sponsored individuals prefer not to engage in cross-research-fields or interdisciplinary applications. In addition, top-class universities in China exhibit stronger ability to carry out interdisciplinary research than do other universities. This thorough investigation of interdisciplinary applications in a scientific foundation provides new insights in managing scientific funding.