An executive of one of the major research foundations recently said: "We are at a critical stage in the history of science. We have learned to recognize problems so complex that no one discipline is able to solve them. At the same time we know very little about how to maintain productive collaborative research among scholars representing divergent disciplines. Out of some two hundred or so interdisciplinary projects with which we are associated I doubt if more than ten or fifteen will be sufficiently productive to reach publication."
Two psychiatrists and a linguistic-anthropologist have demonstrated in The First Five Minutes that cross-disciplinary collaboration can be fruitful if certain necessary conditions are met. First, investigators must be concerned with a real problem of common interest. In this case, in the broadest sense of the phrase, the authors wished to know "what actually happened during a part of a tape-recorded interview."