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Tips for a productive research collaboration

A Science Careers piece today offers some frank advice for those in a certain intimate relationship: scientific collaboration.

Writer Sharon Ann Holgate, PhD, touches on the importance of researchers exploring their options by attending conferences and participating in social networks, not assuming that someone will be a good collaborator just because his or her work is similar, expressing their ideas and not just their enthusiasm in a proposal to a prospective partner, and conducting a trial period before applying for a big grant together.

She also offers ways to resolve conflicts in a considerate and strategic manner, and she addresses the challenge of finding one's place when working in a group:

“Each time a new large collaboration is started, young people (especially if they are coming from small groups) appear bewildered to understand how they can find a visible part of activity in the experiment,” writes Sergio Petrera, a physics professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, in an e-mail… Yet, “even in large collaborations there is enough work for everybody and [enough] interesting issues to allow young people to emerge,” Petrera continues.

Finding your place in collaborations doesn't end at figuring out how to contribute scientifically. You also need to get to know all of the key people and understand the collaboration's dynamics.

The piece also links to a well-considered perspective piece spotlighting challenges particular to interdisciplinary collaboration.

Previously: University unveils new way to fund academic research, encourage collaboration
Photo by buddawiggi

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