22 SES 03 A, Internationalizing Higher Education: Academic engagement
Higher Education (HE) and research, transmitting and producing knowledge are thoroughly worldwide activities, especially since researchers are scattered geographically. Therefore, the HE landscape is getting more and more internationalized, especially, if the rising numbers of international co-authored papers, and the growing number of countries contributing to science are taken into account (Zhang, Powell, Baker 2015). But not only the absolute number of publications is growing rapidly. International scientific collaboration has increased in volume and importance as well.
The concept of collaboration itself has been taken for granted, although it is far from simple and can take many forms. Conventionally, collaboration is measured through co-authorships, but many collaborations begin informally and are a result of informal conventions between researchers knowing each other since many years. Based on Katz and Martins (1997) simple description of research collaboration, my presentation will discuss international collaboration as an intrinsically social process (Jeong, Choi, Kim 2014: 521f). It is a response to increasing professionalization of science, advancement of knowledge, easier access to (financial) resources, an association with the scientific elite, intellectual or social influence, easier access and less expensive communication, and governmental initiatives to increase international contacts (Lukkonen et al. 1992).
Today, more than a third of all research articles worldwide are produced in scientific collaboration; only around a quarter are single-authored articles. Transferred to Humboldt’s principle “in Einsamkeit und Freiheit” (in loneliness and freedom) (Humboldt 1809), research is no longer done by one scientist, but is more likely the result of collaboration and rising internationalization of research. Research networks are increasingly important, and researchers share their common interests on a research question, publishing their results in joint publications.
Researchers from multicultural and multilingual backgrounds, and disciplinary contexts are not only faced with conceptual choices and methodological and practical challenges (Kosmützky 2017), but also with social challenges, which are rarely studied and reflected in the scientific literature. Especially the combination of formal and informal relationships between collaborators, and internal factors at the team level have become the “black box of collaboration study” (Jeong, Choi, 2015: 460). The most important aspect of this specific type of collaboration are pre-existing relationships of the involved scientists and organizations. Using the collaboration framework described in management studies, I could identify three determinations for successful (international) collaboration: team characteristics, motivation, and collaboration processes (Amabile et al. 2001). In addition, the division of labor, data management, and publication strategies within the team (hierarchy) are important aspects which should be studied.
Therefore, my presentation focuses on the exploration of this collaborative dimensions of global research projects and team dynamics. As an practical example, I will focus on the investigation of a multinational, multilingual, multidisciplinary research team, working on a comparative project in the Sociology of Science.
The following research questions are guiding my analysis: What is international collaboration? What motivates collaboration? Who are the collaborators? What does it mean for researchers and a project to work in a highly international and diverse team?
The empirical basis of my study is a large and multi-year international research project in the field of HE and science research. I qualitatively analyzed agendas and minutes from their team meetings, video conferences, and written e-mails of the research team. Furthermore, I conducted guided interviews with team members from different status groups (Phd students, postdoctoral researchers, principal investigators, and a research manager), cultural backgrounds (East Asia, Europe, USA), and diverse levels of experiences in team work. Furthermore, I will add some quantitative data on the basis of a representative sample of published papers in peer-reviewed journals in STEM+ disciplines from 1900-2010, relying on a unique raw dataset from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science that I supplemented through extensive archival research and coding, to illustrate the increasing importance of national and international collaborations beyond the field of HE.
The main goals of my presentation are to (1) evaluate the conditions, benefits, and challenges of cross-national collaborative research in empirical social sciences, and (2) to reflect on the subjective aspects of creativity and responsibility as well as the decision of labor in a research project spanning the entire globe. At the conference I will present first results of my studies, and hope to get some valuable feedback to prepare my work for publication.
Amabile, Teresa M; Patterson, Chelley; Mueller, Jennifer; Wojcik, Tom; Odomirok, Paul W.; Marsh, Mel; Kramer, Steven J. (2001): Academic-Practitioner Collaboration in Management Research: A Case of Cross-Profession Collaboration. In: The Academy of Management Journal, 44(2): 418-431. Humboldt, Wilhem v. (1809): Antrag auf Errichtung der Universität Berlin. Königsberg. Jeong, Seongkyoon; Choi, Jae Young (2015): Collaborative research for academic knowledge creation: How team characteristics, motivation, and processes influence research impact. In: Science and Public Policy, 42: 460-473. Jeong, Seongkyoon; Choi, Jae Young; Kim, Jang-Yun (2014): On the drivers of international collaboration: The impact of informal communication, motivation, and research resources. In: Science and Public Policy, 41: 520-531. Katz, J. Sylvan; Martin, Ben R. (1997): What is research collaboration? In: Research Policy, 26: 1-18. Kosmützky, Anna (2017): A Two-sided Medal. On the Complexity of International Comparative and Collaborative Team Research. In: Higher Education Quarterly. Luukkonen, Terttu; Persson, Olle; Sievertsen, Gunnar (1992): Understanding Patterns of International Scientific Collaboration. In: Science, Technology, & Human Values, 17(1): 101-126. Zhang, Liang; Powell, Justin J.W.; Baker, David P. (2015): Exponential Growth and the Shifting Global Center of Gravity of Science Production, 1900-2011. In: Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, July/August: 46-49.
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