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Is team science productive?
Date:10/18/2010

PHILADELPHIA - Taking a cue from the world of business-performance experts and baseball talent scouts, Penn Medicine translational medicine researchers are among the first to find a way to measure the productivity of collaborations in a young, emerging institute. They published their findings the most recent issue of Science Translational Medicine.

While metrics exist to measure the contributions of individual scientists, judging the effectiveness of team science has been more challenging. Reasoning that team science produces papers and grants, first author postdoctoral fellow Michael Hughes, PhD, (now at Yale University) and colleagues measured these endpoints and analyzed them over time using network analysis, which examines a social structure made up of individuals connected by a common interdependency.

Using the numbers of publications and grants as their raw data, researchers from Penn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) measured how their productivity changed with increasing collaborations over the last five years.

"We're applying quantitative methods to evaluate the collaborative nature of academic science and medicine," says senior author John Hogenesch, PhD, associate professor of Pharmacology in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Hogenesch is also an ITMAT member and interim director of the Penn Center for Bioinformatics.

They found that the number of collaborative papers for ITMAT members doubled since 2006. They also found that researchers were more likely to collaborate within their own departments and institutions than between them. "While understandable, if the purpose of an institute is to facilitate cross-disciplinary interactions, then encouraging people to collaborate across departments and institutes is critical," says Hogenesch.

The authors concluded that studies such as these could help inform decisions about which institutes, centers, or
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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