The Editorial in the February issue of Nature Methods discusses the critical role that interdisciplinary collaboration plays in modern biomedical research. Although there are certainly notable exceptions, researchers seem to be increasingly using collaborations with experts outside their own area of expertise to bring new insights and technologies to their research projects. Increasing numbers of studies claim to back up the assumption that collaboration is beneficial.
At Nature Methods we were curious if the methods papers we had published showed any evidence of benefits arising from interdisciplinary collaboration. We calculated the number of citations per year that each of our research papers published between 2004 and May 2010 had received and analyzed the author patterns of those in the top and bottom quartiles. As briefly described in the February Editorial we detected what seemed to be a positive effect of interdisciplinary collaborations on the apparent impact of the work. This was by no means a rigorous study and there are many caveats, but it certainly suggests that even in methods development, collaboration is beneficial.
Do you have anything to share about your experiences with collaboration? We’d love to hear them.