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A Multi-Level Systems Perspective for the Science of Team Science

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Börner K, Contractor N, Falk-Krzesinski H, Fiore S, Hall K, Keyton J, Spring B, Stokols D, Trochim W, Uzzi B. A Multi-Level Systems Perspective for the Science of Team Science. Science Translational Medicine. 2010;2(49):cm24.

At its most general, the production of knowledge can involve either an incremental change in understanding, or a discrete change. The former involves adding to an existing body of knowledge about a particular phenomenon via a gradual accumulation of understanding. The latter involves more of a radical change, a leap forward in understanding something about a phenomenon, or a fundamental shift in a new direction for understanding. A change of this latter sort recently occurred, a change altering our perception of the workings of science itself. A study of more than 21 million papers published worldwide from 1945 to the present reveals a fundamental and nearly universal shift in all branches of science: Teams increasingly dominate solo scientists in the production of high impact, highly cited science; teams are growing in size; and are increasingly located across university boundaries rather than within them. Similar team impact patterns were found for all the patents published worldwide. Speculation as to why this shift occurred centers on the nature of the problems increasingly studied, complex problems cutting across disciplinary silos and requiring multiple divergent perspectives. Cross-disciplinary teams, whether utilizing multi-, inter-, or trans-disciplinary approaches are expected to hold the key to success. More specifically, “team science” is expected to synergistically combine specialized expertise, theoretical approaches, and research methods across disciplinary boundaries, solving these complex problems, and thereby producing high impact science.

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Type of Publication:

Journal article


Multi-Level Systems, Perspective, Team Science

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts
  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Amanda Vogel on 3/7/2011 3:00:34 PM.

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