The past few decades have shown significant growth in research performed by collaborative teams rather than individuals. Changes in policies, stricter guidelines, and increased expectations of research have led to institutions and individuals turning to others to aid in the completion of the experiments to ensure the work is done timely, thoroughly, and efficiently.
Traditionally, research was performed independently for many reasons, most of which are no longer valid. Communication between others long-distance was cumbersome or impossible, equipment was expensive, many publications took days or weeks to get access to them, and data was difficult to come by.
With the advent of the Digital Era, all of these challenges to teamwork are now obsolete. Teams can collaborate throughout the world, allowing for many perspectives to approach the same problem. With this advantage, studies have shown a strong correlation between research productivity and collaboration.
The Benefits of Research Collaboration
Many studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between collaboration amongst cross-discipline researchers and improved productivity. These studies consistently show that when researchers work together, even through distance collaboration, the results are more impactful than when an individual academic endeavors to complete the same experiment on their own.
These findings are higher in institutions in which the researchers have access to fully established libraries, laboratories, and other research equipment. These institutions are also more likely to promote, encourage, and allow access to cross-discipline research collaborations through inter-institutional teamwork.
An additional benefit to research collaboration is that the access to social networks allows for those with multiple perspectives, cultures, and demographics to work together towards the same goal. When these different views come together to approach a research topic, and are able to communicate easily through social networking, collaboration and performance naturally increases.
As researchers are able to share their knowledge with their team, the quantity and quality of the overall findings are increased as well. This is likely due to collaboration that allows each member of the team to use their strengths to aid in bringing knowledge to the table, managing each section of the project based on integrating strengths and buffering weaknesses of the individual. This advantage has been measured quantitatively through citation measures, as the average impact threshold for research quality has risen to above the global average for many universities and publications.
Challenges of Collaboration
However, even with all of these benefits, it must be noted that there are challenges to research collaboration that make it difficult for this to be a widespread expectation. The underlying principle behind running research universities and institutions is that knowledge will be absorbed, spread, and created. But each institution’s view relies on its own theories of knowledge, which are not universally shared. Creating teams that collaborate on inter-institutional levels, therefore, can result in a disagreement of paradigms that cause disruption in the productivity of a project.
Individual philosophies and personalities can also challenge collaboration. Teamwork requires strong moral discipline to work together and ignore those who they would normally not get along with. For teams in which these issues get in the way of seamless productivity, a strong leader is necessary to guide individuals and keep the team on track with deadlines and focused on the work, rather than the problem.
Other challenges include communication throughout long distances. Without proper programs, it makes it difficult to collaborate regularly and thoroughly. Access to equipment in developing countries can delay the research altogether.
When Collaboration Works, Productivity is Up
Even with the challenges that come with any type of teamwork collaboration, it’s still likely that working together will improve the outcome of the research. Putting multiple experts together to tackle a problem gives everyone a clearer picture, makes the work more manageable and allows the team to focus on more in-depth findings.
Because of the reduction of stress on each member, productivity, and therefore impact, goes up when collaboration is involved.
Impactio is the Go-To Program for Collaboration
One of the biggest challenges to collaboration from different institutions is the problem of communication. With Impactio, that challenge is a thing of the past, as well.
Impactio’s all-in-one program allows users to connect with a large network of experts, including their team members, and share data instantly. Teams can collaborate on creating research, compiling data, and producing the final product for professional profiling, all with Impactio’s easy to use platform.
Just as individual work is becoming obsolete, so is using any other program but Impactio when you’re working on academic research.