Collaboration in academic scientific research
Clark, Benjamin Young
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This dissertation, a collection of four essays, explores a number of lines of questioning concerning the collaborative behavior of academic scientists. First, it sets forth an outline of how collaboration is viewed in the sciences, what motivates scientists to collaborate, how collaboration is measured, and how government policy influences collaboration. With this foundation, the remainder of the chapters use a survey of academic scientists to empirically examine how a number of government policies influence the collaborative behavior of these scientists. Chapter 3 explores the relationship between government support of academic research and the amount of time spent on collaborative research. Government policies stress the importance of collaboration, seen most clearly in grant solicitations, yet there is little evidence that shows these policies have been effective in increasing scientific collaboration. The major finding in this chapter demonstrates that government support of research (via grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements) has a convex curvilinear relationship with collaboration—showing that government support of a researcher has a saturation point at which more support to a scientist no longer increases collaboration. Chapter 4 looks at the relationship between academics scientists and industry. There exists a potential conflict between government policies encouraging collaboration within academia and between academia and industry. The major finding in this chapter show that academic scientists working with industry collaborate more (with all types of collaborators) than those that do not collaborate with industry. However, when examining only those scientist that collaborate with industry, the results reveal a negative relationship between the amount of time spent collaborating with industry and the number of collaborators. Chapter 5 examines how collaborating with industry influences the academic scientists collaborations with scientist at other universities (cross-university collaboration). Government policies have actively encouraged academics in different universities to collaborate with one another, but contract requirements stemming from academic-industrial collaborations may be influencing how academics can partake in these collaborations. The major findings from this chapter show that collaborating with industry appears to be linked to increasing levels of cross-university collaboration.
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