Team science

This report, published in March 2016, examined the current incentives and disincentives for individual researchers participating in ‘team science’, and how to improve reward and recognition for their contributions. 

Status: Completed

'Team science’ is becoming increasingly common across all fields of research. Teams spanning different specialties and geographical centres are often needed to tackle contemporary research questions in biomedical science. However, current recognition frameworks do not always adequately capture or celebrate individuals’ contributions to team science projects.

In 2018, two years on from the launch of the original team science report, the Academy held a follow-up workshop to assess progress made's against the report's recomendations. See the Follow-up work tab for further details.

This project aimed to understand the current incentives and disincentives for researchers participating – or considering participation – in ‘team science’. As part of this process, we looked at how individuals can be appropriately rewarded and recognised for their contributions when working as part of a team.

As part of this, the Academy of Medical Sciences conducted an independent study into these issues to inform future policy within and beyond the UK. The study was led by an expert Working Group, and particularly engaged with researchers, publishers, employers and funders - including those funders undertaking research assessment exercises.   

The Working Group collected written evidence in late 2014 and engaged with a wide range of stakeholder groups to develop the conclusions and policy recommendations in the report, which was published in March 2016. The scope of the original 2016 team science report was:

  • To define the drivers of, and barriers to, the growth of ‘team science’.
  • To explore and define the benefits and challenges to individual biomedical researchers and to the wider research community of participating in ‘team science’.
  • To explore how reward and recognition is allocated for individual biomedical researchers participating in ‘team science’, particularly amongst earlier career researchers, and to define any barriers to sufficient recognition.
  • To make recommendations that address these challenges and barriers.
  • The recommendations will aim to catalyse the development and establishment of processes to generate and use evidence of individual researchers’ contributions to team science projects, particularly with regards to their career progression. This will involve influencing the behaviour of researchers themselves, as well as the policy and practice in publishers, employers and funders – including those funders undertaking research assessment exercises.

For the purposes of this project, 'team science' is defined as any team-based research involving two or more research groups (even if they are all within the same institution) that aims to result in an academic publication or other research output.

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