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Promoting Team Science. Helping Junior Faculty Safely Participate Susan C. Levine University of Chicago. Benefits of Team Science.

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promoting team science

Promoting Team Science

Helping Junior Faculty Safely Participate

Susan C. Levine

University of Chicago

benefits of team science
Benefits of Team Science
  • Team science allows investigators to address questions that are beyond the scope of a single investigator or additive effects of separate projects (whole is greater than sum of parts)
    • Team science also can contribute to the diversity of a department.
    • Bonnie Spring, Arlen C. Moller, and Holly Falk-Krzesinski. Northwestern University, 11 Apr. 2011. Web.
    • Rhotenand Pfirman, 2007, Research Policy, Inside Higher Education and WMIWorkshop Nov 12-13, 2007)
key point of editorial
Key Point of Editorial
  • “Now that teams, not individuals, drive high-impact science, the Nobel Foundation should change how it awards its prize”
  • “In the [111] years since the prize was first awarded, the nature of [the pursuit of truth and discovery] has profoundly changed. It is time that the Nobel did as well.”
but just yesterday
But just yesterday
  • Announcement of first winners of Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences – backed by Silicon Valley pioneers
  • 11 individuals were awarded $3M each
many ways to do science
Many ways to do science

Scientists are people of very dissimilar temperaments doing different things in very different ways.

Among scientists are collectors, classifiers, and compulsive tidiers-up; many are detectives by temperament and many are explorers; some are artists and others artisans. There are poet-scientists and philosopher-scientists and even a few mystics. …”

Peter Medewar, The Art of the Soluble (1967)

Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching

Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered,

Priorities of the Professoriate (1990)

no more lonely scientists
No More Lonely Scientists
  • “Today, it’s about applying fundamental discoveries and technologies to [clinical] problems, and this requires project teams, each member bringing different expertise to the table. This is an exciting time…” (Elizabeth Fini, Vice Dean for Research, USC).
team science is on the rise percentage of papers a and team size b
Team Scienceis on the risePercentage of papers(A) and Team Size (B)

The growth of teams. These plots present changes over time in the fraction of papers and patents written in teams (A) and in mean team size (B). Each line represents the arithmetic average taken over all subfields in each year.

Wuchty, S., Jones, B.F., & Uzzi, B. (2007). The increasing dominance of teams in production of knowledge. Science, 316, 1036-1039.

citation advantages of teams social sciences
Citation Advantages of TeamsSocial Sciences

Ratio of citations

Wuchty, S., Jones, B.F., & Uzzi, B. (2007). The increasing dominance of teams in production of knowledge. Science, 316, 1036-1039.

rise in team size in psychology
Rise in Team Size in Psychology

Wuchty, S., Jones, B.F., & Uzzi, B. (2007). The increasing dominance of teams in production of knowledge. Science, 316, 1036-1039.

analysis of cognitive science society schunn crowly okada 1998
Analysis of Cognitive Science SocietySchunn, Crowly & Okada, 1998
  • Changes are qualitative, not just quantitative
    • “Multidisciplinary collaborations are different in their structure than monodisciplinary collaborations. In particular, they involve combining different research styles, more frequently proposing alternative ideas, and having a more equal status working relationship. “
nsf spatial intelligence and learning center
NSF Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center
  • Diversity of goals
    • Basic research on spatial cognition (cognitive scientists, computer scientists, neuroscientists), particularly in relation to STEM success
    • Development of tools and methods to improve spatial thinking in preschoolers through adults
    • Translational research
      • Collaborations with disciplinary experts in other fields (e.g., geoscience)
      • Collaborations with experts in science and math education
      • Collaborations with museum educators
      • Collaboration with curriculum developers
developmental research on team learning
Developmental Research on Team Learning

Increases interest, retention, higher order thinking, across wide

range of ages and problem types (Gokhale, 1995;

Johnson & Johnson, 1986; Qin et al., 1995)

all this sounds good
All this sounds good
  • So what’s the problem?

“Are there impediments to interdisciplinary research at your current institution?”

Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, 2004, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Convocation

challenges for graduate students and junior faculty
Challenges for Graduate Students and Junior Faculty
  • How will hiring choices be made?
    • Tension between hiring someone who works solely in one’s own disciplines versus someone who may spend some time working with people in other disciplines – we still largely live in disciplinary silos.
  • How will promotion decisions be made?
    • Tension between traditional culture of evaluating individual’s contributions and benefits of team science (i.e., First authored publications count more and being P.I. on grant counts more)
need to reconcile tenure reward structure with team science benefits
Need to reconcile tenure reward structure with team science benefits
  • This reconciliation should be a no-brainer if achievement is measured in terms of scientific contribution
    • Demands of tenure
      • “bold theoretical advances or breakthroughs”
      • “not only contributed to domains in which he/she works, but transforming those domains’
      • “revolutioning domains in which he/she works”
    • Team Science is more likely to lead to such breakthroughs.
  • But requires a culture change
traditional evaluation criteria
Traditional Evaluation Criteria
  • Number and quality of publications with an emphasis on first-authored publications, P.I. on grants
  • How has the individual scientist’s research led to new insights, a paradigm shift, transformed research in a domain?
challenges in evaluation
Challenges in Evaluation
  • Status quo – “This is how I was evaluated!”
    • Senior faculty, Dean, Provost
    • External reviewers
  • How does a young scientist get “credit” for their contributions to a team project
    • How does a young scientist build a reputation, especially if there are many senior members of a team, which often is the case?
the enemy within comments on junior applicants
The enemy within: Comments on junior applicants
  • In hiring committee: “They have a lot of publications, but I worry that many of them are not first-authored?”
  • At time of renewal and tenure-review:
    • “Are too many of the papers co-authored with a former advisor?”
    • “Is he/she collaborating too much.”
    • “Who is driving the research?”
helping junior faculty successfully navigate the rewards and pitfalls of team science
Helping junior faculty successfully navigate the rewards and pitfalls of team science
  • Mentorship
  • Explicitly state value of team science in tenure letter requests
  • Making the case
  • Educate deans and provost

Bonnie Spring, Arlen C. Moller, and Holly Falk-Krzesinski. Northwestern University, 11 Apr. 2011. Web.

mentoring from the start
Mentoring from the start
  • Help junior faculty member define their role on the project
    • Articulate their unique contribution to the project
    • Why is their particular expertise needed?
    • Which aspects of the project are they taking the lead on?
mentoring from the start1
Mentoring from the start
  • Junior faculty should not feel pressured to participate in a team project (feedback from a junior colleague)
  • Given the current climate, the junior faculty member may need to be the first author on some of the publications – this is the current reality.
  • And may need some work outside of the team science framework.
tenure request letter
Tenure Request Letter
  • Expicitly state that your institution values team science and recognizes that participation in such endeavors may reduce the number of first-authored publications
make the case for a p
Make the case for A.P.
  • “Assessing the impact of any individual scholar can be difficult given the increasingly collaborative nature of cutting edge psychological science.” BUT…….
make the case for a p1
Make the case for A.P.
  • A.P. has developed rich and productive collaborative relationships with multiple teams of scholars
  • A.P. is the one constant contributor to the broad set of high quality papers on CV
  • A.P. has consistently served as first author on publications –A.P. is the prime mover in this aspect of the research.
  • Several papers have been sole-authored or co-authored with graduate students
  • A.P. has developed another productive line of research
educate and motivate a dministrators
Educate and motivate administrators
  • Team science is on the upswing and leads to cutting edge advances as well as large grants
  • Individuals who participate in team science efforts are a valued commodity – future leaders
  • Team science can increase diversity
  • Participants in team science may be better citizens??
  • The image of the lone scientist is no longer the modal model– may not even be optimal!
added benefit of t eam science increased diversity
Added benefit of Team Science: Increased Diversity
  • Women value communal goals, including working with or helping others more than men
  • STEM careers are thought not to fulfill these goals.
  • Activating communal goals increases women’s interest in STEM and eliminates gender difference
  • This can affect entry of women into STEM disciplines
  • Can also affect career success, where a culture of disciplinary evaluation and rewards still predominates.

(e.g., Diekman et al., JPSP, 2011).

time spent on interdisciplinary research uk gender differences
Time Spent on Interdisciplinary Research:UK Gender Differences

Women 1.1x

Junior Women 1.4x

Jr Women not PE 1.7x

Responses from 5,505 researchers in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom, Evaluation Associates, 1999





culture change needed
Culture Change Needed
  • This takes time and effort
  • Fundamental Question: Is interdisciplinarity valued or discouraged in your department, your institution? (Wanda Ward, NSF)
    • This can impact the nature of the science that is done and the diversity of your department
  • Educating others – not only deans and provosts but members of one’s own department and colleagues at other institutions who are writing evaluation letters for tenure and promotion.
bottom line
Bottom Line
  • Insisting that young psychological scientists avoid collaborative research to establish their independence may be counterproductive if the goal is to maximize the quality and impact of research.
  • The contingency structure in psychology needs a serious overhaul if we want young scientists to be able to “safely” participate in team science.
  • Chairs can play an important role in facilitating this culture change.