While it’s true enough in English where you don’t spell the word team with the letter ‘I’, that’s not the case in French where the word is ‘equipe’. it makes me wonder how many other languages in the world have an ‘I’ in team.
Moving on. This English language saying is true enough in its way but there is no team unless you have a group of ‘I’s’ and the trick is getting them to work together as a July 18, 2019 Northwestern University news release (received via email) about a new online training tool notes,
Coaching scientists to play well together
Free tool shows how to avoid fights over data and authorship conflicts
‘You stole my idea’ or ‘I’m not getting credit for my work’ are common disputes
Only tool validated by research to help scientists collaborate smoothly
Many NSF [US National Science Foundation] and NIH [US National Institutes of Health] grants now require applicants to show readiness for team science
Scientists can’t do it on their own
CHICAGO — When scientists from different disciplines collaborate – as is increasingly necessary to confront the complexity of challenging research problems – interpersonal tussles often arise. One scientist may accuse another of stealing her ideas. Or, a researcher may feel he is not getting credit for his work or doesn’t have access to important data.
“Interdisciplinary team science is now the state of the art across all branches of science and engineering,” said Bonnie Spring, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “But very few scientists have been trained to work with others outside of their own disciplinary silo.”
The skill is critical because many National Institute[s] of Health and National Science Foundationgrants require applicants to show readiness for team science.
A free, online training tool developed by Northwestern — teamscience.net — has been been proven to help scientists develop skills to work with other scientists outside their own discipline.
A new study led by Spring showed scientists who completed the program’s modules – called COALESCE – significantly boosted their knowledge about team science and increased their self-confidence about being able to successfully work in scientific teams. Most people who completed one or more modules (84%) said that the experience of taking the modules was very likely to positively impact their future research.
The study will be published July 18  in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.
There are few training resources to teach scientists how to collaborate, and the ones that are available don’t have evidence of their effectiveness. Teamscience.net is the only free, validated-by-research tool available to anyone at any time.
Almost 1,000 of the COALESCE users opted voluntarily to respond to questions about the learning modules, providing information about how taking each module influenced team science knowledge, skills and attitudes.
‘You stole my idea’
The most common area of dispute among collaborating scientists is authorship concerns, such as accusations that one person stole ideas from another or that a contributor was not getting credit for his or her work, the study authors said. Other disputes arise around access to and analysis of data, utilization of materials or resources and the general direction of the research itself. Underlying all of these issues is a common failure to prepare for working collaboratively with other scientists.
“Preparing in advance before starting to collaborate, often through the creation of a formal collaboration agreement document, is the best way to head off these types of disputes,” said Angela Pfammatter, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg and a coauthor on the paper.
Spring suggested “having scientists discuss their expectations of one another and the collaboration to prevent acrimonious conflicts.”
Skills to play well together
These skills are critical to a successful scientific team, the authors said:
The ability to choose team members who have the right mix of expertise, temperament and accessibility to round out a team.
The ability to anticipate what could go wrong and to develop contingency plans in advance.
The ability to manage conflict within the team
The teamscience.net modules help scientists acquire these skills by letting them interact with different problem scenarios that can arise in team-based research. Scientists can try out different solutions and learn from mistakes in a safe, online environment.
More than 16,000 people have accessed the resource in the past six years. Demand for team science training is expected to increase as interdisciplinary teams set out to tackle some of science’s most challenging problems.
Other Northwestern authors on the paper are Ekaterina Klyachko, Phillip Rak, H. Gene McFadden, Juned Siddique and Leland Bardsley.
Funding support for COALESCE is from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grants 3UL1RR025741 and UL1TR001422 and its Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.
i once got caught here on this blog between two warring scientists. My August 24, 2015 posting was a pretty standard one for me. Initially, it was one of my more minimalistic pieces with a copy of the text from a university news release announcing the research and a link to the academic paper. I can’t remember if the problem was which scientist was listed first and which was listed last but one of them took exception and contacted me explaining how it was wrong. (Note: These decisions are not made by me.) I did my best to fix whatever the problem was and then the other scientist contacted me. After the dust settled, I ended up with a dog’s breakfast for my posting and a new policy.
Getting back to COALESCE: I wish the Northwestern University researchers all the best as they look for ways to help scientists work together more smoothly and cooperatively.
Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,
Online, cross-disciplinary team science training for health and medical professionals: Evaluation of COALESCE (teamscience.net) by Bonnie Spring, Ekaterina A. Klyachko, Phillip W. Rak, H. Gene McFadden, Donald Hedeker, Juned Siddique, Leland R. Bardsley, and Angela Fidler Pfammatter. Jurnal of Clinical and Translational Science DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/cts.2019.383 Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 July 2019
This paper is open access.