Collaboration 101

Why collaborate? How do you identify partners? What makes a collaborative project successful? What are potential roadblocks to success? We asked colleagues to answer these questions at two workshops in November. Faculty experienced in various kinds of collaborations offered models for success and identified challenges to consider in putting together a collaboration. We’ve distilled their insights and advice here.

So why collaborate? Collaboration is energizing, our colleagues told us, it allows for risk-taking, and by bringing together multiple and diverse perspectives, it promises richer questions and more complex results.

Collaboration can also be hard. Research teams should have clearly articulated goals and measures of success, we learned. Authorship for research results should be agreed on in advance; roles and responsibilities should be specified for each team member. Some teams may wish to formalize these expectations in an MOU. A sample agreement for core members of the team is here and for junior members or temporary personnel, here.

Stay tuned for advice on working with graduate students as research partners.