UMSI researchers contribute to report on Team Science

As the number of authors on scientific publications grows, so does the realization that most research is a team effort. Now two University of Michigan researchers and a former UMSI professor have contributed to a new report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that analyzes how to create the most effective scientific teams.

John L. King and James S. Jackson served as members of the committee appointed by the National Research Council to conduct the study and recommend ways to enhance the effectiveness of collaborative research. Judith S. Olson, professor emerita of the School of Information and currently a professor at UC-Irvine, also served on the committee.

King, the W.W. Bishop Professor of Information, is a former dean of the U-M School of Information and a former U-M vice provost. Jackson directs the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor psychology and a professor health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health.

The report, "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science," synthesizes and integrates the available research to provide guidance on assembling and leading teams that often include researchers from different disciplines and different institutions. It also examines institutional and organizational structures and policies to support science teams and identifies areas where further research is needed to help science teams and groups achieve their goals.

“Research is now more collaborative than ever,” King said. “It will become more so due to the problems addressed and enabled by new technologies like the Internet and video conferencing. For example, 10,000 people collaborated to find the Higgs particle at CERN. Yet effective collaboration is held up by researchers not knowing how. This report uses research to say how by providing recommendations.”

The report, funded by Elsevier as well as the NSF, offers recommendations for science research agencies and policymakers, as well as for individual scientists, disciplinary associations, and research universities.

“This report is not the final word,” King said. “We just hope to accelerate progress. It's not only about technology; it's about information and people, too.”

The report is available to download or read online at the National Academies website.

The text of this story taken from the University of Michigan News Service post.

Posted May 27, 2015