Administrators and the Responsible Conduct of Research
Collaborative Research:
Collaborative Situations

Collaborative Situations

As seen from the preceding examples, faculty and other researchers collaborate in many ways. Collaboration is defined by one source: "To work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor" (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary). The definition opens a broad umbrella under which we can place many forms of collaboration.

For instance, researchers in the same laboratory or academic department may work together on a sponsored project. They may make equal contributions to the project, or one researcher may be leading a project while another is providing expertise on a smaller or more narrowly defined aspect of the project. Researchers may be members of different departments at the same institution. This can occur within the same general discipline, or it could be part of an interdisciplinary project.
Example: the National Science Foundation funds a project at a university’s business school in which the PI is studying the financial status of individuals having varying academic degrees. In this project, the PI might have one or more collaborators in the economics department who will be collecting economic data from Department of Labor databases.

Interdisciplinary projects occur when researchers from different academic disciplines are involved in a project in which, for instance, they are looking at a problem from different perspectives, or when a project involves a complex set of questions that cross disciplines.

Example: The National Institutes of Health funds a project concerning how certain chemical compounds affect animal and human tissues. Such a project might involve chemists, biologists and statisticians who specialize in epidemiology.

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