Collaborative science covers all aspects of developing and maintaining research collaborations. This includes communicating and establishing the parameters of the collaboration, such as authorship determinations and sharing of data and materials. Another dimension is collaboration between researchers from academia and industry, which will have additional guidelines.
Postdocs are in the process of transitioning to independence and building their professional network. As this professional network grows and new project ideas emerge, postdocs and their supervisors should be sure to have clear communication about the responsibilities of their own collaboration as well as the possibilities for collaboration with others.
Setting up these ground rules is a critical first step for postdocs, who, depending upon the nature of their appointment and the concerns of their PI, may not be aware of potential complications with their participation in collaborations. For example, some PIs may be concerned about postdocs collaborating outside of their primary project, especially when 100% of the postdoc’s effort is funded by that project. Postdocs will naturally want to broaden their scholarly network to benefit both their science and their career prospects. However, building these networks through outside collaboration can increase the postdoc’s potential for conflict with the interests of his or her PI, making communication about the nature and scope of the collaboration as well as the expectations of the PI critically important.
Case Studies and Teaching Materials
Chapter 8 from the textbook Scientific Integrity deals with Collaborative Research:
Chapter 12, Setting Up Collaborations from Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2006) Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Second Edition
Silence is Not Golden: Making Collaborations Work By Joan P. Schwartz, Ph.D., NINDS
Articles on Industry Collaborations
Some useful articles on industry partnerships from the Science Careers series on ethics in science. These articles present a fictitious case study and then provide comments on the case from individuals and experts in the field.
University-Industry Collaborations: Whose Data? A case study on sharing of data within a Ph.D. student's industry collaboration.
Sharing in the Sciences Another case study on corporate sponsorship and "custody" of data
Gluck, M.E., Blumenthal, D., and Stoto, M.A. (1987) "University-Industry Relationships in the Life Sciences: Implications for Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows." Research Policy 16: 327-336.