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What is collaborative research?
A collaborative research project is one in which researchers contribute substantially to a part of the project or throughout the duration of the project. The collaborators become the coauthors of the research when published. Technology has grown enough to allow researchers to communicate research findings from across the world.
Collaborative research can be categorized:
- By institutions/administrative units: Simple group (same unit), complex (different unit)
- By sectors involved: Institution, community, industry, government
- By disciplines: Homogenous/unidisciplinary, heterogeneous (researchers from different disciplines), multidisciplinary (researchers work in their own discipline), interdisciplinary (researchers solve the question while focusing on their own field), transdisciplinary (researchers work in a shared framework)
Pros of collaboration
- Shared credits in publications
- Reduced research time by sharing resources
- Better recognition by journals
- More manageable research by division of labor
- Researchers develop marketable skills
- Promotes further collaborations
Why is it important?
The problems of this era have become so complex that expertise in a single field is insufficient for effective solutions. It requires diverse skills and equipment that differ with the kind of research being undertaken, making it nigh impossible for a single institution or administration to acquire all of them. Collaboration with other institutes or labs that specialize in the requirements not only cuts down on the research duration but, many a time, the cost of the research too.
The collaboration benefits everyone when the paper gets published. Researchers who are early in their careers stand a chance to coauthor through collaborative research. Those with experience acquire knowledge in new subject areas, which opens more research opportunities and ideas. Collaborative research facilitates active knowledge transfers, as it is mutually beneficial.
Open access and collaborations
Open access (OA) publishing lifts the restrictions on access and reuse of the published research. This aspect is definitely useful in collaborations. Researchers may not fall under the same administration, which makes research dissemination difficult if it is published with closed access. The authors may have to spend more on subscriptions to journals that are not in their field of interest. These subscriptions often come with a hefty fee that research funding may not cover.
OA, on the other hand, allows access and fair use by anyone. Funders have also understood the importance of interdisciplinary researches and provide support. Collaborations have led to the coining of new terms whose definitions encompass two or more subjects. OA encourages the sharing of negative results as preprints, which helps in gaining better insights into the subject. Data used in previous researches also prove to be helpful. OA publishing will boost further research in uncommon subject areas where resources are sparse and perhaps lead to a new venture.
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3. Severin, Anna. 2016. “Open Access and Collaboration in Research. Barriers to Collaboration in Academic Publishing.” Munich: GRIN Verlag. https://www.grin.com/document/494402.