Friday, July 10, 2009

Research Collaboration - Practical, Professional, Programmatic

"Most research is collaborative..." At least that's Sir Paul Nurse's view as presented on this Vanderbilt University video series. And who could disagree? Sharing ideas, information and resources enables intellectual capital growth, which means efficiency. But is the concept of collaboration too distant for most researchers? In other words, is it Practical, Professional and Programmatic?


It is widely assumed that research collaboration is a good thing. Is it practical? One way to answer this question is through another question: if a researcher allows others to co-author a paper, does the original author get more ideas and commentary for improvement? If you believe so, post a comment and tell us a story. If you believe not, then the same goes for you. On SpineConnect, Spine Surgeons post their most difficult cases for review and collaboration. Our ResearchEdge groups foster a sense of collaboration by allowing surgeons, research coordinators and the sponsoring company access to the data for review. Again, all very practical...


Is research collaboration professional? By this question, I'm more or less asking is it professional to "ask" for collaboration? Should collaboration be set up prior to, or is the research culture naturally collaborative? Big questions to consider, I'm sure. Inside our Communities of Practice, Surgeons set up their own peer-configured groups and invite members to join.


Collaboration is a process, right? I'd say so! I did a Google search with the words *collaboration as a process* and over 43,000,000 sites were referenced. OK, so maybe this isn't that strong of evidence for you, but having read over the websites, I'd say that most collaboration experts are saying: our (trademarked) process works. But process is pragmatic. Why? Because it can be judged and improved on. How many process flows have you seen in your life? Although these get annoying and usually decay after the first minute they are shown, process maps do have a place. They allow you to get proagmmatic, becuase you can see the bumps and potential challenges.

Special thanks to Grzegorz for the great picture!

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