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Can cross-university collaboration be facilitated by establishing institutes to promote team science?

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Weber G, Contractor N, Gopal S, Lungeanu A, Tyshchuk Y. Can cross-university collaboration be facilitated by establishing institutes to promote team science?. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 13, 2017. Centers and Institutes To Promote Team Science What Leads to Success? Online at:

Accelerating high impact, collaborative scientific endeavors is a priority for many in the biomedical research community. A recent Nature Index Collaborations report noted “of the 100 strongest partnerships between two institutions around the world, nearly half are between pairs of research organizations in the same city or metro area.” However, the report cautions that “proximity is just one factor driving collaboration”. In particular, it suggests that part of the reason why Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have the highest collaborative index of any pair of institutions across the world is a joint venture called the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. We sought to test this hypothesis through a bibliometric analysis of publications from Broad and the nearby Whitehead Institute for Genome Research. Both were founded to promote a deeply collaborative approach in the area of genome research, and they both support collaborations that span Harvard and MIT. We found that when controlling for year, Broad and Whitehead publications show similar impact, with 117.3 and 114.6 citations respectively per article. However, even when institutions are organized to promote collaborations, the structure of the resulting teams can differ. When controlling for field, publications with Broad involvement have more than double the citation count of Harvard or MIT publications without Broad involvement. Broad publications also have more collaborators than Whitehead publications (17.43 authors vs 8.85), and typically have collaborators from a much wider cross-section of other institutions. Further, Broad publications tend toward a clinical focus, partnering more often with faculty from Harvard’s affiliated hospitals. We will share our findings on what may contribute to the unique impact these institutes have, as well as what distinguishes each. We will highlight key features that other organizations can adopt to accelerate their own collaborative endeavors



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, institutions, collaboration

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Establish or maintain effective team science endeavors
  • Provide institutional support for team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/3/2017 11:45:40 AM.

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