study: team research better than solo efforts
Kellogg study has found that collaboration, rather than individual
efforts, may prove to have the biggest research impact. The
findings appeared in the May edition of Science in an article titled "The Increasing Dominance
of Teams in the Production of Knowledge."
collaborative structure is better at producing new ideas than
it was 50 years ago," said Brian
Uzzi, the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and
Organizational Change, and a co-author of the study. "In
1945, the papers written by individuals did garner more citations
than papers written in teams," but since then, teams
have produced the most-cited papers in diverse disciplines.
surprisingly, it was a team that produced the Kellogg study.
paper really drew on the strengths of [Assistant Professor
of Management and Strategy] Ben
Jones, who is trained as an economist, Stefan Wuchty
[of Northwestern University's Institute on Complex Systems],
who is trained as a physicist, and my own training as a sociologist,"
research teams indeed outperform individuals, he says, this
could affect research funding, how scholars are trained and
the allocation of effort between individuals and teams. But
before the implications can become clear, Uzzi says it is
important to ask why teams are outpacing individuals where
once they did not. "Our big question really is, 'What
are the causes behind this shift?'"
Jones, and Wuchty will take on that question in their next
paper, which will focus on how the Internet, has influenced
academic collaborations. They will consider whether the Internet
has lead to "the democratization of science" or
to a situation in which the best researchers capture an even
greater share of the intellectual space through teams.
whither the brilliant loner? Is his finest hour winding down?
Uzzi thinks so.
might say it's already over, particularly in the bench sciences,"
he says. "Others might say there will always be a niche
for the lone scientist, although that niche is getting smaller."