Erin Leahey



Erin Leahey (LAY-HEE) is a Professor and Director of Sociology at the University of Arizona.  Her main research interests are scientific practice, scientific careers, and innovation.  Recently, she has conducted investigations of knowledge that spans domains – both subfields and fields.  With Sharon Koppman (UC Irvine), she has traced the diffusion of three unconventional techniques that were imported into sociology from other fields.  With Jim Moody she has found that subfield-spanning research is more highly cited (Social Currents 2014).  With Christine Beckman, she finds that field-spanning, interdisciplinary research fares similarly, but there’s a trade-off: engagement with interdisciplinary research also depresses scholarly productivity (Administrative Science Quarterly 2016).  In a current NSF-funded project (SciSIP award #1461989), Professor Leahey is developing measures of universities’ commitment to interdisciplinarity, and assessing both the drivers of commitment levels, and the consequences of them for scientific research output and university prestige.  With Attila Varga and Jerry Jacobs, she is examining whether and how large, secondary datasets serve as hubs that help scholars from multiple disciplines coalesce.