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Need a New Perspective? Try Team Science

EHE Office of Research
March 20, 2017

In 2007, Wuchty, Jones and Uzzi studied authorship patterns in over 19.9 million papers published over five decades. They concluded that research is increasingly being done by teams, that team-produced research is more likely to be cited, and that teams are increasingly responsible for producing the most impactful research.  These findings aren’t surprising given the increasing complexity of the problems we are trying to solve. Yet the study of the “how and whys” associated with conducting impactful scientific research in teams is relatively new.

Bennet and Gadlin (2013) describe team science on a continuum of both interaction and integration. At the lowest end of the continuum, a single researcher works alone. At the highest end of the continuum, integrated research teams meet, agree on goals and objectives, and share leadership. Stokols et al. (2008) have identified a continuum of disciplinary integration that distinguishes team science from simple collaboration. Moving from unidisciplinarity to transdisciplinarity, research teams are increasingly attempting to synthesize conceptual frameworks, theories, concepts and methods across previously impermeable disciplinary boundaries.

For more information on team science, please consult the resources listed. A more extensive list of team science resources and the references cited in this article can be found on the Research Methodology Center’s (RMC) Resource Guides page.

The Team Science Toolkit

The team science toolkit, created by the National Cancer Institute, is a user-generated, interactive collection of resources for professionals engaged in team science.

Science of Team Science Website

A website dedicated to building the knowledge base for team science, this site features information on the SciTS annual conference and the option to subscribe to the group listserv.

National Research Council (2015). Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/19007.

Describes the evolution of team science and provides advice on how a culture of team science can be fostered and supported.

Team Science and Authorship

As team science approaches to research grow, so does the need for clarity in authorship. We’ve identified some resources that can help novice as well as seasoned researchers with decisions regarding authorship.

American Journal Experts (AJE): The Ethics of Manuscript Authorship

These experts review the ICMJE guidelines, with additional information on choosing a journal, the peer-review process, and related publication issues. Translations in Portuguese and Chinese.

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)

Comprehensive website dedicated to the 2015 “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.” These recommendations—originally known as the “Vancouver Recommendations”—are in use by many non-ICMJE journals as well.

Northern Illinois University

A collection of learning modules focusing on responsible authorship and manuscript preparation. They cover collaborative authorship and authorship credit guidelines and tips for avoiding common mistakes in manuscript preparation (methodology and interpretation).


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