Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide

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Title: Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide
Year: 2010
Authors: Bennett, L. M. Gadlin, H. Levine-Finley, S.
Abstract:

This "field guide" was published by the United States National Institutes of Health and is therefore in the public domain. The authors describe their aims as follows:

To discover a set of best practices for collaborations among scientists and researchers, we set out to:
- Understand the characteristics, processes, and dynamics that contribute to a team's success (or demise).
- Engage the biomedical research community to learn more about how team science should be initiated, conducted, and evaluated.
- Develop strategies to prevent, reduce, or mitigate conflict among researchers engaged in team science.
- Provide tools for individuals considering or planning to engage in team science.

As a first step, we reviewed a wide range of relevant literature on topics such as team building, interpersonal and group dynamics, conflict resolution, and the functioning of scientific teams and labs. Next, we generated our own data on scientific collaboration. We developed a semi-structured interview protocol containing 25 questions to ask team members, identified 5 self-assembled teams performing research at NIH, and secured the participation of 30 individual team members who represented a cross-section of disciplines, team roles, and career levels. After
Samantha interviewed each participant in person and took detailed notes, we worked together to identify primary themes and concepts from the interviews and compared these findings with our literature review and existing models for successful team functioning. Howard and Michelle presented the preliminary results from this project at NIH Grand Rounds in August 2009 (see References and Additional Resources on page 67). Since that point, we have collaborated to turn our findings into this Field Guide.

It is our hope that this Field Guide will help researchers build or participate on research teams either on their own initiative or at the request of someone in their organization. Although the design and use of funding mechanisms to promote team science are important, these topics are beyond the scope of this Field Guide.

Keywords: Team Science, Collaboration, Research
Language: English


Type of Material: Guide

Submitted by:
Ernest Frugé
Associate Professor
Baylor College of Medicine

Corresponding author: Ernest Frugé

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